Simple happiness the secret to stalwart's long and full life

A beloved Narromine stalwart is set to mark an incredible moment in her life, set to celebrate the big 100 on Thursday.

January 28 will mark the 100th birthday of wife, mother and well-known Narromine local Gwenda Mary Bourchier (nee Connell).

Gwen, as she is often referred to, has plans to celebrate this milestone in her home of 70 years, surrounded by her four children and extended family.

The daughter of Dubbo butcher James Connell and his wife, Eileen Houlahan, Gwen moved to Narromine in 1951, spending her days as a stay-at-home mother and wife to light horseman, Claude Bourchier.

Gwen is a valued asset to her family and beloved by the surrounding community, with the Narromine News and Trangie Advocate reporting on her as "one of Narromine's most popular ladies..."

Even with her husband's death in 1983, Gwen continued to run the Narromine Taxi Service, oft recognised for a shiny, black car.

In what her daughter Roslyn Walsh called 'true Gwen style', the then-nonagenarian Gwen did not conclude her work as a taxi driver until she gave up her driver's license at the age of 92.

"Everyone remembers Mum and her late arrival to her 90th birthday party. She was too busy picking up the 'oldies' and taking them to her party" Ms Walsh said of her mother.

"She has always done everything for everybody else. As a child, I remember her travelling on a push bike to set the hair of fellow Narromine residents."

Gwen's local efforts and strong commitments to her local community have not gone unnoticed either, winning the Australia Day award for local citizen of the year in 1987 as well as the 2015 lifetime membership award for St Vincent's De Paul for 50 years of service.

The 1998 Community Good Deed Award for the Orana Region recognised Gwen's excellence as a pianist and her commitment to playing for the community.

Family friend, Norma Meadley spoke fondly of the times she and Gwen would share in the sounds of Gwen's musical talents and signing ability.

"When I think of Gwen, I think of music," Ms Meadley said.

"She is remembered everywhere in town as the music lady because she would visit day-care centres and RSL clubs just to sing and play the piano."

"Gwen is so special; she can play a song by ear."

Gwen has also offered her advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps.

"When asked the secret to a long life, I always say to keep things simple and live happily."

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This story Stalwart shares secret to long life ahead of 100 year birthday first appeared on Daily Liberal.