Flight with hero a highlight

A memory that has stayed with Daisy Crispin lifelong was a flight with Australian aviatior and pioneer Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith.

Mrs Crispin was surrounded by the hard-working staff at the Orana Gardens Lodge recently as she celebrated her 102 birthday.

She was born at Cobar on July 17, 1910 as the youngest of four girls.

Her father worked on the railways so she moved about and started school at Geurie before moving to Cowra.

The four girls loved to sing, to learn, and to recite poetry. They were encouraged to voice their opinions and be aware of current issues, Mrs Crispin said.

Mrs Crispin met her husband, school teacher Chris, while she was living at Cooma.

Chris would drive his soft-topped Buick to Mount Kosciusko where they regularly went to ski.

Before the Great Depression Mrs Crispin worked as a secretary in a real estate agency and was worried she would not be able to keep her job in the years to come.

Seeking job security she moved in order to spend four years training as a nurse at Cowra Hospital and soon became the matron at Cooma Hospital.

When Mrs Crispin was 12 years old she wrote to Sir Kingsford- Smith about his plane which had stayed in a paddock near Cowra leaving cows to chew through one of the wings and he wrote back to her.

While she was training at Cowra hospital, Sir Kingsford-Smith flew into town in his Avro 540 biplane.

Mrs Crispin decided she wanted to go on an adventure and paid 10 shillings, almost three weeks' worth of wages at the time, for a joy ride with Sir Kingsford-Smith.

Another clear memory for Mrs Crispin was the end of World War I.

"I remember because I asked one soldier to bring me back a button from the Kaiser but he brought me back a button from a German commander instead," she said.

During World War II she worked as a volunteer for the Red Cross and later joined Country Women's Association (CWA) and became Far North Coast Group president.

Mrs?Cripsin was awarded CWA life membership soon after.

When the Daily Liberal asked her about the highlight of her long life, she said it was having good, caring parents and a happy marriage.

In July 2010 Mrs Crispin received letters from the Queen, Governor-General Quentin Bryce and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, as well as former prime minister Kevin Rudd in honour of her 100th birthday.

Living through the Great Depression and losing her only son and then her husband of 58 years, less than six months apart in her early 80s were the most difficult times of her life.

Mrs Crispin told the Daily Liberal the secret to her living more than 100 years were good genes and eating fresh food with no additives.

"I didn't expect to live this long," she said.

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