Ipswich great, great grandmother joins exclusive club
IPSWICH'S Jean Bell has become the newest member of an exclusive club that only a few people are lucky enough to join.
Today is Jean's 100th birthday, but the beloved great grandmother has had several days of celebrating.
Her family and friends gathered at the Ipswich Bowls Club on Sunday for a party in her honour.
Jean is the third person in her family to reach triple digits. Her sister Beryl is 102 and another sister, who has now passed, lived to be 103.
When asked about her secret to a long and happy life, Jean said the key was eating healthy, staying active and spending as much time as possible with friends and family.
"I'm hardly ever home," the centenarian said, laughing.
"I go and play bowls three days a week and I also like to cook and water the garden."
Her daughter Debbie Green agreed, saying "we have to make appointments to see her because she is always so busy".
Jean Bell (nee Hines) was born on December 3, 1919. She grew up on a small farm at Mutdapilly and moved out of home at age 16 and went to live with a solicitor and their family and work as a maid.
She married George Bell when she was 18 and they spent 66 happy years together before he passed away in 2004.
The pair loved to play lawn bowls, taking up the sport at the Booval Bowling Club (now Swifts) in 1972 and then joined the Ipswich Bowls Club in 1988 where Jean is still an active member today.
Jean is the matriarch of a family that spans five generations. She has six children, 21 grandchildren, 51 great grandchildren and six great, great grandchildren.