Merle Stevens celebrates her 100th birthday in COVID style Coffs Coast Coffs Coast News by News Of The Area - Modern Media - September 3, 2020 Merle and Syd on their wedding day June 1941. Photo: supplied by Merle Stevens. MERLE Stevens could never have imagined that her 100th birthday would be celebrated in the midst of a pandemic. Advertise with News of The Area today. It’s worth it for your business. Message us. Phone us – (02) 4981 8882. Email us – firstname.lastname@example.org But it’s at times like these that we tend to reflect on what’s most important to us. Born on September 2, 1920, Merle has three children, nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. “Merle is also Mum in name to others in the Village,” said Lexi Connor, Village Manager of Boambee Gardens Estate. “She often says she’s had a very blessed life.” Merle told News Of The Area that she’s always been surrounded by the loving support of family, from her childhood in Ashfield, Sydney, and through wartime and life’s challenges. “Dad went to both world wars, but we all got through it because there was lots of family around,” she said. “We always celebrated birthdays together, too”. However, she didn’t have a special 21st because she married Syd a week later, in June 1941, spending their wedding night on a train from Sydney to Melbourne where Syd was based as a medic in the Air Force. Merle has witnessed many significant events in her life so far, including the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. “I was in primary school and everyone wondered what was under the covers as it was being built,” she said. Of course, life doesn’t always run smoothly, but Merle firmly believes in the power of prayer. She attributes her long life to her faith, refraining from tobacco and alcohol, and eating a daily salad. And Merle will still get to feel special on her birthday as guest of honour at a High Tea at Boambee Gardens with twenty friends and staff from the Village, and later a small family gathering. “I don’t feel 100,” Merle laughed, and judging by the roguish glint in her eye, it’s clear there was a lot more she could have said about her life well lived. By Monika KOZLOVSKIS Merle at 99. Photo: supplied by Merle Stevens.