Meet Vera, still enjoying a laugh at 105!

Vera Ogden is an amazing woman. 

Born in the UK in 1917, she will celebrate her 105th birthday on 22 July doing what she loves best – spending time with her family and having a laugh! 

Vera recalls a happy and loving early home life. She lived in Manchester with her Mum, Mary Elizabeth, her Dad Henry who had his own butchers shop, and younger sister Irene. Sadly, Henry died when Vera was only 12 years old, leaving her mother a widow. 

Like a lot of young people at the time, Vera left school at the age of 14 to work. She got a job as a machinist and her lifelong love of textiles was born. She proudly remembers working on ‘fancy’ boxes, making ornate and pretty boxes for a leading manufacturer. She eventually worked for a factory that made bedding, earning a role as a manager, and is still in touch with the business owner, Arnold Stoll to this day. 

Growing up, sisters Vera and Irene were very keen ballroom dancers. When World War 2 raged across Britain, the girls frequented a local dance hall that was owned by their cousins. 

“We had to race home when the air raid sirens came on,” she laughed. “It made our mother so cross!” 

Vera was married twice.  

Then, at the age of 51 then with two sons, Melvyn and Ian, and her mother, Vera packed up and moved to Adelaide to be near her sister Irene. 

“When I got here, I cried myself to sleep every night for the first few weeks. I’d had a good job in the UK and a lovely boss who I’m still contact with. I had friends and other relatives back in England and wondered what on earth I’d done!” 

Vera says that she settled in by making friends and getting a job she loved at Simpson Pope washing machine manufacturers. 

When she was 70, Vera moved to a unit in Sempahore Park, Adelaide where she says she has been very happy with lots of friends and neighbours close by. 

RDNS support is ‘marvellous’ 

Vera only started getting home help from the RDNS in her nineties. These days, fiercely independent, she does as much as she can for herself. A neighbour takes her to the shops, where Vera does her own shopping. And all of her own cooking. Cleaners come by every fortnight to tidy her unit. 

She describes the RDNS help as ‘marvellous.’ 

“They are helpful and kind, and we often enjoy a good old chat,” she says. 

Mari Guerrero is an RDNS personal carer who visits Vera twice a week to help her shower. Mari says she loves visiting Vera and enjoys the stories of her life. 

Vera’s eldest son Melvyn lives in the UK, but she is very close with her younger son Ian and his family, who live nearby. She spends a lot of time staying with them and letting them ‘spoil’ her. Still a keen reader and avid TV watcher, Vera also loves the British Royal Family. 

A telegram from the Queen was a highlight of her 100th birthday five years ago and, as Vera says, a family party at her son’s home and another Royal telegram will be a perfect 105th birthday gift!  

And her secret to a long and happy life … ‘Just enjoy yourself. Have some fun and always remember to laugh.’ 

Congratulations and happy birthday Vera!