Francie Morris celebrates her 100th birthday

FRANCES Patricia White was a war baby – the First World War not the second – and today, July 12 she will celebrate her 100th birthday.

Born and bred in Bathurst, she is unlike most people her age.

She is busy, very busy, lives alone and after going to bed at 1am after her 100th birthday party she was up and had cooked a batch of scones for guests by 7am.

Well known in Bathurst as Francie Morris (she married Arthur Morris), she was named as one of Bathurst’s Living Legends during city’s bicentenary two years ago.

She was born on July 12, 1917 to parents Anne and William White in their home on Rocket Street. She was the fourth oldest of the couple’s 10 children.

“I was born at home in the house and Mum still lived there when she died,” Mrs Morris said.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Francie Morris with her letter of birthday wishes from Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 071017pbfrancie9

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Francie Morris with her letter of birthday wishes from Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 071017pbfrancie9

She was born in the city’s pre-electricity days and said she clearly remembers the gas man coming to light the street light outside her home each evening.

Gas for her parents’ home was obtained by popping a shilling in the meter on their front verandah.

“I had a very happy childhood, there was always someone to play with,” she said.

In her early 20s she met the man who would become her husband at the then Heath’s Cafe in Bathurst.

“I used to go to the old time dances with my Mum and Dad, that’s where we met,” she said.

Francie White and Arthur Morris married during World War II, on October 16, 1941.

STUNNING: Francie Morris during her younger years. 071017pbfrancie3

STUNNING: Francie Morris during her younger years. 071017pbfrancie3

The couple had no children, however both were one of 10 children and they rejoiced in having a large family and network of friends.

They were married for 34 years before Arthur’s death.

During her lifetime, Mrs Morris has been an avid golfer and joined Bathurst Golf Club in 1952 where she remains a life member.

So loved is she by those at the club that on Saturday a recently-renovated room there was named in her honour.

Club president Ray Stapley said it was the first time they have named a room after anyone.

Her other love has been cooking and she said it doesn’t matter if it is a batch of eight Christmas cakes in one session or tomato chutney, the kitchen is one of her favourite places to be.

WHAT A WOMAN: Francie Morris with one of her four birthday cakes and numerous bunches of flowers that she received. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 071017pbfrancie5

WHAT A WOMAN: Francie Morris with one of her four birthday cakes and numerous bunches of flowers that she received. Photo: PHIL BLATCH 071017pbfrancie5

She is also very active in her church community – the Cathedral of St Michael and St John.

Mrs Morris may have just turned 100, but she is fiercely independent and only handed in her driver’s licence last year.

When asked what her secret to longevity was, she mulled over the answer for just a little while.

“I cook a lot, I’ve always cooked good meals and I feed myself well, I think that’s important,” Mrs Morris said.

“Also, I have a glass of hot water every morning before breakfast.”