People of Helping Hand: Ellen – Helping Hand

People of Helping Hand: Ellen

It’s quite possible that Ellen has discovered the secret to eternal optimism and joy. 99 years young and she is living her best life, winning hearts and admirers along the way.

Today is Ellen’s 99 birthday. Not that she is resting on her laurels – in fact she is already looking forward to receiving a card from King Charles in 2024!

On the weekend, Ellen enjoyed a birthday gathering with 25 guests at the Slug ‘N’ Lettuce, a British themed pub – and the celebrations for this popular personality haven’t stopped.

Ellen and her husband and three daughters came to Australia as “Ten Pound Poms” in 1965. She worked at Mercedes Benz for many years in the accounts section and admits that her life wasn’t always champagne and roses.

‘When I was younger, I would describe myself as a wimp. I didn’t stand up for myself at work, or in my marriage. I actually ended up having a bit of a breakdown and that was the best thing that ever happened to me because through having therapy, I came out of it a different, much stronger person’, she says.

These days, keeping busy is the key ingredient to Ellen’s sense of happiness and purpose. She has her regular taxi driver (her personal chauffeur!) who picks her up from Parafield Gardens and takes her to the local shops. She also has a real flair for sewing and baking. She will scour op shops for fabrics and materials and can transform a tablecloth into a stylish outfit on her trusty sewing machine. Her wardrobe is bursting with her original designs. She also makes handmade items to raise money for Save the Children.

When she has time, she bakes pies with her famous ‘Champagne’ pastry. ‘It’s called champagne pastry because it is so special – not because it has champagne in it! I make mince pies and apple pies and they are so popular with everyone, sometimes, there isn’t even one leftover for me!’

So, what’s her secret?

‘I just have to keep busy and doing things and trying something new. And I love it here. I love the companionship and the volunteers. I try and do all the activities, including yoga, and I come and go as I please. It’s easy to stay in your room, but you’ve got to go out and do things! I like to LIVE! You’re never too old to try something new’.

Happy 99th birthday to one of life’s true inspirations.

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