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Pat Flynn celebrates 100 years

Featherston resident Pat Flynn [QSM] joined the ranks of an exclusive club this month – she turned 100 years old.

It is another significant milestone in the life of a woman who has dedicated time, energy and commitment to a town and community she loves.

“The people who live here are lovely, lovely people,” she told Midweek. “It is a very caring community.”

At becoming New Zealand’s latest centenarian, Pat has more than fulfilled the ambition she held as a young girl “to see the new century”.

It has been 100 years packed with achievements and adventures, many of which she documented in her book A Life Well Lived, which she published recently.

Pat Flynn [née Twiss] trained as a teacher and secured a “much sought after” position in a country school in Pirinoa in the late 1940s.

It was around this time she met her husband, David, who managed The Cosy cinema in Featherston and The Town Hall picture house in Greytown.

Pat and David married in February 1949, and so began the start of Pat’s 75 years [to date] as a Featherston resident.

In the 1940s and 50s, Featherston was the town of South Wairarapa, Pat said. “It was the bees knees.”

Pat recalled to Midweek how Frank Seward, who ran the daily bus service from Lake Ferry, would boast, “I can buy you anything you want in Featherston. And if I can’t, I’ll know someone who can.”

One of Pat’s main sources of joy and community service over the years was the Fell Museum, of which she was secretary for 32 years.

She was also instrumental in establishing the heritage trail in Featherston, as well as being a member of Featherston Heritage Museum, the Featherston Promotional Group, the Tauherenikau Probus Club, the Catholic Women’s League, and the North Island Ladies small bore rifle shooting team.

Pat was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the community in 2009.

Indeed, shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth when she visited New Zealand in 1974 is counted as one of Pat’s highlights in her long and rich life.

“She was wearing gloves, but it was lovely. She was just so beautiful and had such a lovely complexion.”

Pat credits her longevity to good genes [her father lived till he was 93], having never smoked, and eating in moderation.

“I’ve never been a big eater,” she said.

Pat celebrated her birthday at Anzac Hall in Featherston, surrounded by many friends and family, including daughter Maggie, granddaughter Katy and great-grandaughter, Ruby.

Among the many cards Pat received were messages from King Charles and Queen Camilla, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Minister for Seniors Casey Costello, and Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro.

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