LONG-TIME Redland resident Win Collins has celebrated her 90th birthday after her regular aqua aerobics class, in the company of obliging firemen.
Mrs Collins joined the exercise class at the Cleveland Aquatic Centre when she was 80 years old, attending twice a week.
On Thursday, the centre, together with family and friends, put on a surprise celebration for her 90th birthday.
Mrs Collins’ affection for firemen was discovered by an adult grandson who spotted the bare-chested firies calendar hanging in the laundry.
The family decided the calendar should be put in a more prominent position and since then it has been hung every year above Mrs Collins’ computer near the kitchen.
Firefighters from Cleveland station Graham Morrisby, John Black, James Ryan and Josh Alpin popped by the centre to surprise Mrs Collins who was delighted to spend part of her milestone birthday with them.
“At first I thought they were just coming into the centre to check some equipment,” she said.
Mrs Collins said she would continue to with the twice-weekly aqua aerobics classes for as long as she was able.
“I can’t do everything in the class but I do what I can.
“We enjoy a coffee afterwards and it is a lovely social outing.
Raised at Tingalpa, Mrs Collins met Redland Bay carpenter Les Collins at a Methodist Church youth camp as a young adult. Mr Collins’ family were among Redland Bay’s early settlers.
They were married in 1952 and lived in Redland Bay and Mount Cotton until retiring to Cleveland.
The couple were active in the Redland Bay Methodist Church, District Dramatic Society, Hearing Impaired Group and parent committees at Redland Bay State School and Cleveland District State High School.
They were also involved in the Strawberry Festival, one year making a float honouring the Collins family heritage, and the Redlands Show.
Mr and Mrs Collins were among the founders of the Bayside Vehicle Restorers Club and for many years ran billy cart races on slopes near the Grand View Hotel on Australia Day.
Recommending aqua aerobics to everyone – including those in her age bracket – Mrs Collins said it has helped to fill a gap after her husband died about 10 years ago.
“It was the best thing I ever did,” she said.
“People don’t need to be concerned that they are too old. There is even someone to help you get in and out of the water.”