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Batehaven centenarians mark milestone 104th birthdays in same month at Maranatha Lodge

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Appeared in the Bay Post on 13 January 2019. Written by ​Kate Lockley

Two Batemans Bay women have more than a hundred reasons to celebrate this month when they mark their 104th birthdays.

Born in 1915, Amy Stoltze and Vera James are residents at Maranatha Lodge in Batehaven, sharing their birthdays just eight days apart.

On Friday, the pair celebrated a party at the lodge with family, residents and staff. After opening gifts and singing along to some old classics, Ms Stoltze and Ms James cut the cake on what was a history-making celebration for the nursing home.

Ms James, who up until two months ago was still living at home, said she was “feeling good” for her age.

She credited a loving family, with a “wonderful husband and two wonderful daughters”, to her longevity.

Her great niece, Marilyn Harris, said Ms James led a “good and very simple life” and was an avid tennis and bowls player for many years.

Born in Goulburn, Ms James and her husband Frederick retired to Batehaven in the 1970s after building their holiday home in the 1950s.

She has two daughters, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Ms Stoltze, was born in Petersham, Sydney, and moved to Batemans Bay in 2004 to be near her only daughter, Gwen.

She moved into Maranatha just over 15 years ago, and, like her fellow centenarian, also lived an active life.

Ms Stoltze is a devoted AFL fan and Collingwood supporter. Her interests also extended to the dance floor. After learning ballet as a young girl, Ms Stotlze continued ballroom dancing until she was 85 years old.

Known to tell fibs about her age, Ms Stoltze took some time to come round to Friday’s celebrations, telling staff “It’s just another birthday”.

Maranatha’s recreational activities officer, Kim Bow, said she had never before seen two residents celebrate such a milestone in the same month at the same residence.

“It’s unbelievable”, Ms Bow said. “I’ve been in aged care for 30 years – you don’t see this anywhere.” Acting residential manager Jill Davis said it was a was a privilege to have both women at the lodge.

“These delightful, now 104-year-old ladies, are dearly loved by all our staff,” Ms Davis said.

The centenarians have witnessed many changes in their time, including 24 Australian Prime Ministers, both World Wars, the advent of the motor car, the moon landing and the computer age.