Trendy Mrs Sharkey celebrates her 100th

2009-06-29 00:00

MORE than 100 guests gathered to celebrate the life of one of Pietermaritzurg’s oldest residents on Saturday.

Mabel Ellen Sharkey was greeted with a guard of honour formed by her children, grand-children, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren at her 100th birthday party at the Voortrekker Museum Hall.

Born in 1909, Mrs Sharkey has been a strong influence in the communities where she has lived and raised her nine children including Albert Falls, Raisethorpe, Eastwood and finally Prestbury. Her earliest memories as a little girl were being sent by her father to cross the river to look after animals on the family farm in Albert Falls, a chore she didn’t look forward to.

“I used to cry because I didn’t want to go, but I had to,” said Mrs Sharkey.

With grandchildren and great-grandchildren all around the world, her favourite gadget of the 21st century is the webcam. “I can see and speak to all my children even if they are far away,” she said.

Fondly known as Mana, she has been a mother to many outside of her immediate family.

Sal May, Mrs Sharkey’s second cousin, said: “Aunty Mabel has stayed the same. We’ve all changed, but she stays the same. She has been like a mother to me and so many other people.”

At the age of 100, Mrs Sharkey has never worn spectacles and is still an avid follower of fashion. A familiar face at the Liberty Midlands Mall, she can be seen frequenting stores in search of the latest stylish hats and handbags.

Mrs Sharkey’s eldest daughter, Phyllis Sharkey, described her as the matriarch of the family and a pillar of strength to all. “Mummy has always been there for us and we are so grateful that God has spared her to be with us a little longer,” she said.

Asked if she had any words of wisdom for those who would like to follow in her footsteps, she said: “God will provide, my child.”

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