Friday, September 22, 2023

A biker at 90

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Off they go! Photo: Ali Bohn

Ali Bohn, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper

Reaching a milestone such as 90, for many people, would far exceed the number of years they might expect to be celebrating their birthday.

Gwen Martin
Gwen Martin
Photo: Ali Bohn

However, when it comes to a lady such as Barham’s Gwen Martin, it may just be where life begins!

Celebrating her special day last week with friends and family at The Royal Hotel for a morning of coffee, cake and chatter, Gwen was just getting ready to leave when I popped in to see how she was enjoying her birthday.

“I think you get here and you realise you’re very thankful for lovely family and lots of lovely friends. I have been blessed,” she smiles, “I had a great husband for almost 66 years, I love singing, golf and swimming. Maybe that’s why I’m still here!”

Collecting her gifts and cards from the table, Gwen makes her way outside only to be approached by a leather-clad Jeff Bray who has parked on the footpath with his Can-Am Spyder Motorcycle. Not for a moment presuming he was there to see her, Gwen politely steps to the side to get out of his way.

“Hello Gwen, would you like to come for a ride?” Jeff smiles, handing Gwen a leather jacket, helmet and gloves.

A few months ago, Gwen had been out for a leisurely walk when she saw Jeff (her neighbour) in his driveway polishing his bike. Clearly taken by the luxurious motorcycle shining in the sun, Gwen made a passing comment that she would love to have a ride on it one day.

Jeff never forgot, nor did her friend who had joined her on the walk and so when her 90th birthday was approaching, they figured a ride on the bike would be the perfect gift for Gwen.

“I certainly would!” Gwen said immediately; and without a second thought, she donned the jacket, gloves and helmet, swung her leg over the seat and jumped on behind Jeff.

Gwen Martin and Jeff Bray
Happy Birthday Gwen!
Photo: Ali Bohn

With bystanders snapping away with their phones, you could not wipe the smile off Gwen’s face, and when Jeff started the engine her smile only grew!

A brief tour of Koondrook and Barham, and Gwen was back to tell the tale, still smiling and I might say, not too keen to hop off just yet!

As she thanked her family, friends and Jeff for the lovely birthday surprise, I briefly chatted with Gwen’s daughter Helen, who tells me the secrets to this spritely and vivacious lady who is adored by all who meet her.

“Mum plays 18 holes of golf twice a week. She does light exercises twice a week, she’s involved with a group who play cards, and up until COVID-19, she was doing water aerobics. She is just a very happy lady and a wonderful person. She would absolutely love this!”

Indeed she did, as just when Jeff is about to leave he reminds Gwen to give him a yell should she like another ride and her response is gorgeous – “Oh yes, I definitely will!!”

Somehow, I don’t think this will be the last we see Gwen Martin on the back of a motorcycle. She really seems to have been in her element!!

The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 29 April 2021

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 29 April 2021.


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