Kingsley great-grandmother celebrates a century

Norah James with her great-grandchildren.
Norah James with her great-grandchildren.

KINGSLEY great-grandmother Norah James, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, has embraced technology to maintain contact with friends overseas as well as leading an active social life.

Norah was born in South Africa, the younger and mischievous of two daughters, and her father was a doctor from Ireland and her mother the daughter of a South African-born solicitor.

“Growing up, she loved and rode horses, played hockey and tennis, playing that sport into her mid 70s and bridge until a few years ago,” granddaughter Belinda Lord said.

“She was passionate about classical music, learning to play the piano and studying music from an early age.

“Her love of classical music sustained her throughout her life, providing her with many hours of listening pleasure.”

While working briefly in Cape Town during World War II, she met an English-born Rhodesian, Roger, who she married in 1943.

They settled in then-Southern Rhodesia on his return at the end of the war and were married for 54 years, living in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Norah has three children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

“After Roger died, she emigrated at the age of 81 to Australia and forged a whole new set of friends, adapting well to the culture in her new country,” Belinda said.

“Despite her age she also embraced the modern skills provided by computers and managed to keep in close contact with her many friends all over the world via email and Skype.

“She did not take to Facebook however, but derived great pleasure solving complex jigsaw puzzles on her iPad and completing the daily crossword in a leading English newspaper.

“She has always been a much loved person, a very sociable lady, who enjoyed the company of people, young and old.

“She is always willing to swap a yarn with anybody happy to engage with her.”

Family from the US and Queensland flew to Perth to join Norah for her 100th birthday on July 20, with the celebration held at her Meath Care home.