Driver?s licence a great gift for 100th birthday
By ADRIAN MILLER
ARTHUR NEWMAN, 99, can still recite the words to Rudyard Kipling's Gunga Din off the top of his head, even though it has been more than 60 years since he read the words off the page.
He still has his driver's licence, and a smile loops across his face when he recalls, at the age of five, playing the triangle in the Salvation Army band as it gave a rendition of Dead March in Soul on the news of the sinking of the Titanic.
Mr Newman, who has lived at Yamba since 1958, will celebrate his 100th birthday at the Yamba Golf and Country Club on January 21. It's a fitting environment for the celebration. He and late wife Louise were instrumental in establishing the club in the early 1960s.
And while family and friends are coming from throughout the country for the celebrations, Mr Newman said he was not sure what all the fuss was about.
"I'm not particularly bothered by it. If someone wants to have a bit of fun, that's okay, but there's lots of things more important in life," he said.
Besides, soon after the party, there is the small matter of his driving test.
"It's a big goal to get my driver's licence again. I've been driving since I was 16," he said.
But he does not mind if he receives the customary letter from the Queen, congratulating him on his life span.
"I don't really mind whether it comes ? if I get one I get one," he said.
And for those who might be after the secret to long life, Mr Newman said he does not have the answers.
"I don't know how I've managed it. I've just gone along as the good lord meant me to," he said.
Mr Newman's son Neil, who describes his father as an 'inspiration', is organising the party which will begin at 6.30 pm on January 21. Tickets are $10, with finger food, free drinks for the first hour and entertainment provided.