This 98-year-old has no intention of slowing down
IF there was ever any proof needed that a youthful outlook on life can keep you young, Hilda Pearson is it.
The Grafton woman turned 98 on Friday and to celebrate she was handed a helmet and taken for a ride out to Coutts Crossing on the back of a Harley Davidson.
While it may seem adventurous for someone of her age, it is actually a step down from the way Mrs Pearson celebrated her 90th birthday - by jumping out of a plane in a tandem skydive.
"I look back on that and I think I did well on that," she said.
"Now I'm just wondering what I'm going to do when I'm 100."
Describing herself as a "very lucky old lady", Mrs Pearson said she was thankful to still be able to do everything for herself, and proud that she wasn't on any medication.
"I cook and clean and wash for myself and that keeps me busy," she said.
"I don't stay home all the time either; I get the courtesy bus and go the club and play raffles. I fill my life the best way I can."
Mrs Pearson moved to Australia from England in 1952 with her husband and four of her five children, and lived in Wollongong before moving to Grafton later in life.
Sadly, her husband and three of her children have passed away, but the great-great grandmother - who has lost count of how many great and great-great grandchildren she has - is grateful to still have her son, 75, and daughter, 70, around even though they live out of town.
"Life's just what you make it and when you get old you've just got to accept it," she said.
"A lot of people don't do that and when they get old they expect a lot from their family, which I don't agree with."
Her family is there when it counts though, and after her wild ride Mrs Pearson's family and friends took her to the South Grafton Services Club to celebrate her most recent milestone.
Her secret to a long life is simple.
"It's a joke that I make when people say how are you doing so well, I say I never drank and never smoked and have never gone out with naughty men," she laughed.
"It's good to feel the way I feel at my age. I'm a very lucky old lady and I tell myself that every day."