KEEPING active and not smoking are the secrets to a long life according to Merv Nagle who recently celebrated his 90th Birthday.
Merv marked the special occasion at his home in Tea Gardens surrounded by several generations of his family who had travelled from as far away as Perth for the celebrations.
Maintaining his active lifestyle since retiring, Merv has voluntarily tended the grounds and gardens at Tea Gardens Public School for more than a quarter of a century.
During this time, Mr Nagle has seen four headmasters pass through the school and said he “plans on seeing five.”
Mr Nagle told News Of The Area his association with the school began after one of his grandchildren told him the school was looking for a volunteer to help out.
“I decided to take it on,” Mr Nagle said.
“It started off as being a few days a week but I’ve been coming in every day since 2008.”
In recognition of his dedicated service, the school oval was named the “Merv Nagle Playing Field.”
Three of the Principals Mr Nagle has volunteered for over the past 25 years joined the celebrations at a special birthday dinner last week.
Mr Nagle worked in Real Estate in Sydney before retiring and moving to Tea Gardens with his wife in 1991.
During this time, Mr Nagle said he has seen many changes at the school.
“When I started, it was always difficult to clean the rainforest as there were sand flies and mosquitoes,” he said.
“It’s vastly different now, most of the old school buildings have been removed and replaced and there is a second oval.”
In his younger days, Mr Nagle played rugby for the Gordon Club in North Sydney and only missed one out of 113 games due to an injury. He was also a keen golfer.
Mr Nagle has three children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
His advice to younger people is to take advantage of every moment.
“You have to make the most of whatever opportunities you have and do the best you can to make the most of your life,” he said.
By Daniel SAHYOUN