Centenarian Becomes Cruise Ship Celebrity

By ,   December 31, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

Evelyn Simmons, resident of Coffs Harbour, was treated like celebrity on a 4,000-passenger cruise around the Pacific Islands when she celebrated her 100th birthday.

"Everywhere I went they wanted to take photographs," she said.

Cameras were snapping everywhere.

"I would get into the lift and they would tap my shoulder and say 'Lovely to see you; can we have a photo?'.

"They loved it; I loved it.

"Every time the band saw me coming they would play Happy Birthday."

Voyager of the Seas

Ms Simmons found it difficult to go from one end of Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas to the other without being approached, with her daughter Sandra joking she felt like a 'groupie'.

"The best moment was when a little girl pointed at my mum and said, 'But she can't be 100; she doesn't look a day over 70'," Sandra Simmons said.

Centenarian on cruise

Evelyn Simmons was born in Gawler in South Australia on December 10, 1916, the second youngest of nine children.

Her parents had arrived in South Australia from Lebanon in 1879, as children.

"I give my parents credit … they came over here with no money and nothing but the clothes they had on," she said.

She describes the highlight of her life marrying her husband Norm at age 26.

The couple met in Macksville on the NSW Mid North Coast when Ms Simmons was visiting her sister who was coincidentally married to Norm's brother.

"As soon as I saw him that was it, I don't know how he felt," she said laughing.

"He was a wonderful man."

The couple had four children and ran a clothing shop in Macksville.

Ms Simmons is unsure as to the secret of her longevity.

"I haven't been outstanding in anything, although I did win a few golf tournaments," she said.

"I've learnt to be more tolerant and to forgive a lot.

"I just think you live life as it comes to you, face it.

"Life isn't easy … early on when my husband was in the army I was raising four children and managing the shop."

Her husband's death seven years ago from a sudden heart attack shook her.

"I still haven't got over it," she said.

Despite the challenges life has thrown at her, Ms Simmons is in good spirits and health.

She still lives in her own home.

"I don't smoke, I don't drink, and some would say I'm a bit of a prude — but it has paid off!"

She hates to sit still and knits blankets for local charities despite her limited eye sight.

And as for the next 100 years?

"I'd love to know, but that is in the hands of the Lord," she said.

"I'm just thankful for my 100 years. I've had a wonderful life."

Source: abc.net.au