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Love is all you need

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Bolton Clarke Chelsea Retirement Village resident Grace Alexander’s story is literally part of the fabric of the Wide Bay community.

Grace, a long-time local dressmaker, will turn 100 on Tuesday, November 23. Fittingly for someone who sees love and family as life’s greatest gifts, her creations have made their wedding day extra special for hundreds of Wide Bay brides.

Putting her long life down to good genes and looking after herself, Grace is still living independently in her own home in the village, where she has lived for the past 20 years. She boasts that she still looks after her own medications but credits her ability to live on her own to having good help.

“I’m very well looked after; I always have been,” she says.

“I grew up through the Depression and things were very tight. When I look back now, I’m sure there were lots of times my Mother was hungry, but us kids were well looked after. I feel I have been blessed all my life.”

Grace grew up in Rockhampton, travelled the world with her late-husband of 74 years and has a lineage of three children, five grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. After a life well lived, her most important piece of advice is simple.

“Always care for each other and make sure people know you love them – show them, tell them!”

“I was brought up like this. Whenever anybody was going out of the house, whoever was left behind would be kissed goodbye. I have been all dressed up going somewhere and still gone up into the foul yard to kiss my Father goodbye because I wouldn’t go without saying goodbye to him.”

“I taught that to my children and now I see it happening with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I feel blessed that I have been here long enough to see it all happen.”

A dressmaker by trade, she opened her own shop at 18 years old and had a long career in sewing.

“It was what I wanted all my life, all I ever wanted to do was sew.”

“I kept doing it even once I had retired and moved into Chelsea. I think I did 30 weddings after I retired, but it was what I wanted to do. Not many people get to do that – I have had a good life!”

“I am a very happy 100-year-old, I can tell you that.” Grace says.