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Former cover girl turns 105

Cover girl Lily May (nee Caldwell) Bowley in about 1939, standing on Suttons Beach.
Cover girl Lily May (nee Caldwell) Bowley in about 1939, standing on Suttons Beach.

PROUD Queenslander and Sandgate resident Lily May Bowley has celebrated her 105th birthday with 'no regrets'.

The former cover girl is still living independently in her own home and marked the occasion with a party with her friends at All About Living in Brighton.

On reflecting on her life, Mrs Bowley said she loves life and always went about things in her own way.

"I love life, it is what you make it,” she said.

"I had lots and lots of friends.

"They've all gone, I even outlived my sister and she was 12 years younger.

"My grandmother, one of them, lived a week and two days after I was born, and I often wonder what she'd think of me now.”

Sandgate resident Lily May Bowley (nee Caldwell) was born on August 10, 1912.
Sandgate resident Lily May Bowley (nee Caldwell) was born on August 10, 1912.

The former Lily Caldwell was born on August 10, 1912 at Greenslopes.

"I was a live wire, I had good parents, they took us everywhere and I did everything. I have no regrets,” Mrs Bowley said.

"I lived up in Gatton for 20 years and had a great life in the country.

"My mother and I were both Lily Mays and when I started school Dad said maybe I should be May.

"I used to walk and run a lot, and go to the shop for some of the neighbours when I was a little girl.

"I love shopping, I still do.

"I came here (to Sandgate) in 1961 but I've always been a Queenslander.”

Cover girl Lily May (nee Caldwell) Bowley in about 1939, modelling on Suttons Beach.
Cover girl Lily May (nee Caldwell) Bowley in about 1939, modelling on Suttons Beach.

Before getting married Mrs Bowley did a bit of modelling, which was unpaid in those days, including one cover shoot.

"It was at Suttons Beach,” she said.

"They gave me the red piece of material (from the photo shoot) but they didn't give me the umbrella.

"I've shrunk a lot (since then), down and in.

"It (the magazine) only came out for one year then the (second World) War was on.

"I saw the first one too, they were talking about a third one recently and I thought, come on, I've already seen two.”

Norman Bowley and Lily May on their wedding day in about 1940.
Norman Bowley and Lily May on their wedding day in about 1940.

She married Norman Bowley in about 1940 and they did not have any children.

"I married a southerner but I soon turned him into a Queenslander.

"He used to draw plans for the big buildings.

"Mum's family came from Normanby in France so all my family got the name (Norman). People would ask me about Norman and I'd say which one.”

During her long life, Mrs Bowley loved playing tennis, travelling and her little dog named Lucy.

One of Lily May Bowley's favourite dogs (the late) Lucy.
One of Lily May Bowley's favourite dogs (the late) Lucy.

A choir was brought in for her birthday party and sang tunes including Blue Moon and Que Sera Sera while important members of the community wished her happy birthday.

Mrs Bowley was fashionably late for her party and said she enjoyed the choir and celebrations.

"It was lovely, it really was nice,” she said.

All About Living case manager Joanne Young said Mrs Bowley had been part of their family since 2006 and was still very independent.

"She cooks everything herself,” Ms Young said.

"She also has a nip of brandy every day in her coffee.”

Topics:  birthday brighton old age old photos sandgate secret to old age


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