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You can bet on Ken having a good life

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Ken Maher with a congratulatory letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Ask Novocastrian Ken Maher what his secret to a long and healthy life is – and you might be in for a shock.

The born and bred local celebrated his 100th birthday at The Shed, at the Adamstown Bowling Club, on Saturday 6 November.

Surrounded by family and friends, the colourful character revelled in the occasion, stating it was a “dream come true” to reach the milestone.

Born in Adamstown, Mr Maher has lived all his life in Newcastle apart from the time he spent as an Army volunteer gunner in the Australian Imperial Forces in WWII, stationed at Darwin.

He remembers the former steel city from its primitive days during the Great Depression, with no main sewerage system and shanty towns at Nobbys, Lambton and Carrington.

The centenarian often had no shoes to wear but that didn’t stop him having fun growing up and his great joy at being given a second-hand bicycle.

Also, he developed his lifelong love of horse racing, which he still enjoys today.

Mr Maher even took time out during his party to win a few small bets on the races with grandson, James.

He was bestowed with a congratulatory letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, too, along with many words of blessings from Australian politicians.

Another highlight on the day was a unique presentation from Rebecca Skinner.

The journalist, author and good family friend gave him a copy of her book, Ken Maher A Good Bet: I Did It My Way.

“I was delighted to hand it over to him in person,” she said.

“It’s a special present from his only child, Joan.

“Ken was thrilled with it as it is something positive he can leave to his family and the generations to come.”

And, finally, his secret to a long and healthy life?

“Eat five vegetables a day, have a hobby and plenty of sex with your partner,” Mr Maher said.

Centenarian Ken Maher has a bet with his grandson James on his 100th birthday.

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