Cleveland resident Maureen Elizabeth Bruce turns 100 a year after breaking leg and beating the odds to walk again

MANDALAY Retreat resident Maureen Elizabeth Bruce has celebrated her 100th birthday less than a year after doctors advised she would never walk again due to a broken leg.

MILESTONE: Maureen Elizabeth (Betty) Bruce was glad to see family on her birthday. She received a big bouquet of flowers.

MILESTONE: Maureen Elizabeth (Betty) Bruce was glad to see family on her birthday. She received a big bouquet of flowers.

Born in Orbost, a rural town in eastern Victoria, Ms Bruce - also known as Betty - has defied the odds and is back walking but said she was feeling a little overwhelmed about passing the hundred milestone.

The former Hardy's Wines receptionist grew up and was educated in Wonthaggi, South Gippsland, married in 1941 and moved to Queensland in 1987 to be with one of her four daughters.

She said her late husband Keith, a World War II veteran, was in poor health at the time of their move and the couple had turned to family for support.

"We had family up here," Ms Bruce said. "One of our daughters (Julie) had come up here for a holiday. She decided she liked Queensland so she stayed here.

"She had married and had a family so we came up here to be with them."

In the early 1990s, Ms Bruce was advised she was suffering from untreatable macular degeneration.

The disease has slowly stolen away her eyesight over the years but she said among the most trying of times in her life was saying goodbye to husband Keith after he suffered a stroke in 1995.

"If you lose your husband, and they are a good husband, you think your life is finished," she said.

"But I was lucky. I had a great family. My four daughters were just wonderful."

Ms Bruce's daughters - Wendy June, Julie, Barbara and Susan - are spread out across the country and overseas.

She has six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, all of whom keep in regular contact with her.

She said the secret to her long life had been playing plenty of sport with Keith before his passing.

"My husband and I played a lot of tennis for many years after the war. Then we played golf and bowls," Ms Bruce said.

"We played for the Capalaba Bowls Club. The year we joined they had just opened. They were a new club."

More than 36 people, including 32 from interstate, were due to celebrate her birthday at Cleveland's Courthouse Restaurant on May 13.

The party was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel and gatherings but she was still treated to a visit from daughter Julie.

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