Joyce celebrates her 104th birthday

STAYING true to yourself, having a positive attitude and being active – this is how you get to live a long life, says Joyce Swingburn, a resident at Nazareth Care Port Elizabeth, who celebrated her 104th birthday on November 26.

In the short time that Nazareth Care Port Elizabeth has learnt to know her; Joyce’s positivity has made a huge impact on them all.

“We are blessed to have Joyce Swingburn as one of our residents and to have the opportunity to celebrate her 104th birthday with her,” said Suzette Billson, Nazareth Care Port Elizabeth’s facility manager.

Gladys Joyce Dargie was born on November 26, 1918, and grew up on her family farm in the Ida area near Khowa (formerly Elliot).

At the outbreak of World War 2, she became engaged to Lionel Rogers Swingburn, who was called up for military duty and sent to fight the Germans in Egypt.

He was captured at Tobruk and remained a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany until 1945.

Joyce enlisted as part of the war effort as a WAAF with the air force and was trained as a radio operator in Morse code. She started off in Bloemfontein, was transferred to Youngsfield in Cape Town and ultimately, she was posted to Driftsands in PE, where she worked as a Morse code operator.

At the end of the war, she married Lionel on October 10, 1945, in Khowa.

The couple farmed, mostly with livestock, on their farm, Fairview, that overlooked the Drakensberg Mountains.

They were blessed with three children, Beverly, Harold and Derek. Joyce has always enjoyed sport and played tennis and badminton.

She and her husband were keen dancers and Joyce also spent time in the kitchen baking.

After 58 years of farming, the couple decided to retire in Gonubie, a seaside suburb of East London. After her husband’s death in 2003, Joyce continued to live in Gonubie.

When her daughter, Beverly, decided to immigrate to Australia in July 2022, she decided it was time that she also moved on and decided to relocate to Gqeberha to be closer to her son, Derek. She and her family together decided that Nazareth House Port Elizabeth would become her next home.

Billson says that Joyce has settled in well and has made a few special friends at Nazareth Care.

When asked what she enjoys most about her new home she answered that it is the homely atmosphere, the friendly staff and that she feels safe there.

Joyce has always been an avid gardener her entire life and now that she has settled in she has once again started gardening. She has found a section of the garden that needed some care and has adopted it as her project.

Billson said, “Joyce, you are truly an inspiration to us all. We thank you for choosing Nazareth House Port Elizabeth, sharing your treasured memories with us and inspiring all those around you with your positivity. From all of us at Nazareth Care, we wish you a happy 104th birthday!”

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