People of Helping Hand: Pat – Helping Hand

People of Helping Hand: Pat

From drinking French Champagne at the Eiffel Tower; to a top-secret role as an Air Force Wireless Operator in World War Two, Pat from Belalie Lodge is a fine example of a long life, lived well.


Pat moved to Belalie Lodge earlier this year (2022) and has reached the milestone age of 101. (And was thrilled to receive a letter from the Queen last year.) ‘The time to move was right. My family wouldn’t have to worry about me. And I wouldn’t have to worry about them. It’s a lovely place and I’m happy’, says Pat.

Accepting others is key to Pat’s positive outlook in life. ‘I have my own opinions, which I keep to myself and I accept others for who they are.’

Horse racing has been a lifelong passion and Pat has vivid memories of her first Melbourne Cup. She had just completed her Air Force training and attended the race with friends. They placed a bet on horse called Peter, who came in second. ‘Since then, I’ve been to different races in Australia, as well as overseas; luckily my husband Terry also had a keen interest, so it’s something we enjoyed together.’

Pat believes her experience as a wireless operator in World War Two instilled the importance of confidentiality. In any case, Pat is quite good at keeping a secret! ‘My husband Terry was a few years younger and I never told anyone, not even our children. I didn’t want people thinking I had taken a toy boy! Years later, my youngest son was interviewed for a job at Pine Gap and they had obviously done a background check. He rang me later and said “Mum, I think it’s time you stopped pretending you’re still 42 years old!” My secret was out’, she recalls with a laugh.

At 101 years, Pat is in a good place. ‘I am lucky to have lived as long as I have and feel very blessed.’ She and Terry travelled widely both here and overseas and she still follows her passion for the horses. ‘My vision is no good, but I can still hear the races!’

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