101 reasons to ring in 2012
BALLINA'S Cecil Goulding has every reason to have a wild New Year's Eve; this week is the 101st time he'll ring in the new year.
Of course, having turned 100 on December 14, Mr Goulding is likely to keep his December 31 evening fairly low key.
But he deserves as much adulation for seeing off 2011 as he recently received for his 100th birthday.
Earlier this month, Mr Goulding was surrounded by family and friends as he clocked up a century not out.
"I went and had my birthday at Shaw's Bay," he said.
"We had a very good day. My daughter came up from Sydney."
More than 60 people turned out to wish Mr Goulding a happy birthday in Ballina.
"There were people I hadn't seen for many, many years; 50 years," he said.
In terms of presents, what do you get the man who has had enough time to have been bought everything? Alcohol, apparently.
"I received a few bottles of port," he said.
But the gift of liquor was arguably second to the flurry of letters from high officialdom Mr Goulding received on his birthday.
He earned no less than 10 letters on his birthday, including well wishes from the Queen, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Governor-General Quentin Bryce, and state member Don Page.
All up, Mr Goulding filed 10 letters commending his long life.
However the bottles of port and promise of royal correspondence are not the secrets to chalking up 100 years.
"Hard work. Hard work. That's the story," Mr Goulding admitted.
For Mr Goulding, that hard work included running a Georgica farm, owning a seafood shop in Ballina, as well as driving a cab.
And the hard work started when he was a child.
While we've all heard our parents tell us stories about how far they walked to school when they were kids, it turns out those stories were true.
"When I was a kid I used to get up in the morning, milk 10 cows by hand, feed pigs and then walk a mile to school," he said.
With all that and still being pretty sharp between the ears, Mr Goulding is still in pretty good nick.
While he is currently in the middle of a brief hospital visit, he is looking forward to seeing plenty of 2012 and beyond.
"With a bit of luck I'll have another year or so," he said.
Hopefully that means he'll have another couple of chances to ring in the new year in style.