by Graham Broadhead
MAVIS Berryman has a simple explanation for her longevity.
The resident of the Alstonville Adventist Retirement Village turned 105 yesterday.
"I don't don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't go out with bad men," she said when asked about her secret to a long life.
But she at one time used to hang around with a lot of shearers around Armidale.
There was nothing suss going on there, though -- her late husband, Eric, was a station manager based in Armidale and Mavis would accompany him to stations to cook for the shearing crews.
"And they were a hungry lot," she said.
General manager of the Adventist village, Paul Mitchell, told those who gathered for Mavis' birthday celebration that she joined an elite group of the "richest people in the world".
From the 2016 Census, he reported that there were only 175 people aged over 105 in Australia, and they were rich in that they had a long life.
While that number may have changed since the Census was taken, Mavis is the oldest resident in the village by four years and no doubt is one of the oldest people in the region.
Mavis was born at Uralla and lived most of her life with Eric at Armidale.
After Eric passed away in 1989, Mavis moved to Alstonville to be closer to family.
She said she has had "an interesting life".
She loved to cook, worked in the Armidale hospital's library, she played bowls and she travelled with her husband to England by ship in the 1960s.
When she was born in September 1912, Gallipoli was unknown to Australians as the First World War hadn't begun, the Model T Ford first rolled off the production line four years earlier and it was just short of nine years after the Wright brothers first flew their aeroplane.
She agreed the world has changed a lot over her lifetime, but Mavis said she was happy to live for today rather than pine for years gone by.
Mavis has three children, seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild is due to be born in December.