A long life with many careers and interests for care home resident

As the birthday cake for John Goddard was brought out to him while Bupa Tasman Care Home staff and residents sang Happy Birthday, his face lit up. Surprising considering John’s seen a fair few birthdays in his time, this one being his 105th birthday.

John was born in Derbyshire, England in 1915 and was in the St John Brigade with his brother. After joining the Army during WW2 he completed his nursing qualifications, which he would continue to use throughout his life.

With a career including jobs as a loom mechanic in cotton mills, a postman, working in first aid for the sugar factory, digging ditches for council, and even being the first nurse at Paremoremo Prison, John’s daughter Christine McIlvenna says her father has led a full life.

“Not only did Dad try his hand at lots of different jobs, he also had a busy family life with a wife Dorothy, four children, six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren,” Christine says.

As a man of strong faith, John still has a good sense of humour and in his younger days he had an interest in gardening, woodworking, walking and reading. He’s also a creative man, showing a talent for painting in both water colours and oil paints. His artwork is still proudly displayed in the homes of his children.

Bupa Tasman Care Home Manager Daniel Clifford says John has been a resident for four years now and says he’s very well liked amongst residents and staff.

“Everyone likes John, he’s a bit of a celebrity around here and we’re always asking him the secret to his longevity, which he puts down to being alcohol free throughout his life, exercise and his faith,” Daniel says.

This birthday his family couldn’t see John in person due to Covid-19 but since Alert Level 2 they have been able to visit. As the residents gathered around John to celebrate with him, the care home staff presented the birthday boy with a special handmade birthday card to mark his 105th milestone.

“Sometimes I forget how old I really am, I stopped counting years ago,” John says with a smile.