By Grace Frost
Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Sorraghan celebrated her 103rd birthday over morning tea with friends, family and staff at Dianella Village Hostel on Friday.
The residents enthusiastically sang Happy Birthday before Ms Sorraghan, wearing her birthday tiara, blew out her candles on the cake that her daughter Anne Hibberd had made specially for the occasion.
It was hard for her fellow residents to believe that Ms Sorraghan, who was chatting away, smiling for photographs and enjoying her birthday feast, was truly 103.
Born in 1920, Ms Sorraghan, then Ms Franklin, was raised in Beveridge alongside older sister Alice, brother David and twin sister Bedelia, known as ‘Biddy’, whom she remembered and spoke fondly of on what was both of their birthdays.
Ms Sorraghan married her husband Matthew Sorraghan at the Beveridge Church in the mid 1940s, and the couple moved to a farm at Bylands where they were surrounded by a close-knit community and instantly formed long-lasting friendships.
The couple stayed at the farm until their move to a unit in Kilmore, where Ms Sorraghan remained until 2020 after her husband’s death in 2015.
Up until the age of 99 and nine months, Ms Sorraghan was living independently at her home.
She moved to Dianella Village Hostel just in time to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Ms Sorraghan has two children, Anne and Pat, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
She said family was the most important thing to cherish in life as ‘the years go by very quickly’.
“If you’ve got good friends, good family, what more can you ask for?” she said.
“Anne is a good daughter, and I’ve got a good son. I grew up in a good family and I’ve been very lucky.”
Ms Hibberd said her mother had always been community minded, involved with groups including the Catholic Women’s League, Meals on Wheels and Senior Citz.
She spoke of her mother’s past creative hobbies including embroidering, crocheting and knitting, and said Ms Sorraghan used to knit jumpers for local children.
Ms Sorraghan spoke highly of the region, saying she always knew of and felt connected to the people in it, which made the transition to Dianella at Kilmore District Health more simple.
She thanked those people present on Friday for helping her celebrate the special occasion.
“Thankyou all, I’m at home here,” she said.
“You’re all so nice and I’m very lucky to have you all here today.”