STILL ACTIVE: Ethel Conlan celebrated her 102nd birthday recently.
STILL ACTIVE: Ethel Conlan celebrated her 102nd birthday recently. Mike Knott BUN090418BIRTHDAY1

Ethel, 102, says ditch the drink for long life

ETHEL Conlan can remember the days she and her brother would ride their shetland pony three miles to the school gate.

It was the 1920s and Ethel and her family lived in the country town of Roma.

"It was too far to walk," she said.

Fast-forward 90 or so years and riding a horse to school is just one of the many changes Ethel has seen in her 102 years.

The now-Bundaberg resident celebrated the milestone birthday on April 4 at Argyle Gardens with a cake, surrounded by her family and friends.

Ethel was born in 1916 in Brisbane but it was Roma where she grew up and eventually got an apprenticeship as a hairdresser. She later took on ownership of the same salon before moving to Redcliffe, where she stayed for about 40 years.

She met husband Richard and the pair was married for about 40 years, having one daughter, Margaret.

In 2015, one day before her 99th birthday, Ethel moved to Bundaberg to be close to her daughter.

"Bundaberg is a beautiful area and I love having my daughter close by - we catch up regularly and enjoy spending time together," she said.

These days Ethel likes to keep busy playing cards - 500 is her game of choice - and enjoys the occasional game of bingo.

"I try not to miss bingo on Saturdays at the village and I enjoy being with the other Argyle Gardens residents," she said.

"I have made some very good friends here over the years."

The secret to longevity, she says, is in the drink.

"I don't drink ... I've never been drunk. I eat most meals, I'm not fussy. I chew it all. I'm always the last at the table," she said.

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