A TRIPLE TOAST: Edna Harrison, 90, Ros Gilligan, 70 and Trish Holgate, 80, celebrated with 30 Coolangatta Bowls members and friends, at the club's Feng Shui restaurant.
A TRIPLE TOAST: Edna Harrison, 90, Ros Gilligan, 70 and Trish Holgate, 80, celebrated with 30 Coolangatta Bowls members and friends, at the club's Feng Shui restaurant.

Joining forces for three decade-marking birthdays

IT was a triple "0" occasion at Coolangatta Bowls Club recently, but not the emergency kind.

The club celebrated three decade-marking member birthdays - Ros Gilligan turning 70, Trish Holgate 80 and, topping the table, lifetime member Edna Harrison 90.

Although not born-and-bred here, the Twin Towns have become more than home to Edna since moving from country Victoria with husband Gordon in 1955.

"I've done so many things in the past 90 years because I've had so many years to do them," she laughed.

While Gordon bought a fishing trawler and was president of the fisherman's association until he died at 63, Edna, a trained nurse, made her own reputation.

She was the queen of fashion, children's wear and underwear with her store Edna Harrison's Fashions.

"I love Coolangatta and the Tweed, and I've been involved in just about everything," she said.

That includes the Chamber of Commerce, Quota, volunteering and fundraising for the Tweed Hospital, hosting Rotary exchange students, and supporting local sporting clubs through her shop.

On radio station 2MW's Social Scenes program, Edna was the voice of what was going on locally.

Over the years, she also helped judge events including Banana Festival Queens and Miss Twin Towns, as well as the Lions Club Youth of the Year.

Bowls has been part of Edna's life for the past 17 years or so since selling the shop and, despite "breaking two legs in the last four years", she still bowls socially every Wednesday and runs the raffles each Friday.

"It's not really comfortable at times, but I don't want to give it up," Edna admitted.

"I've had a very active life, so bowling is a pleasure - just meeting the people is as important or more to me than the bowling .... that's why I make the effort."

She said Coolangatta Bowls Club was "a very friendly, caring and a very strong club".

Ladies Committee president Pam Bews said Edna, herself a former president, had "a particular passion for raising funds for the oncology ward" of the Tweed Hospital, with the club raising $7000 for the cause last year.

Edna looks back fondly at her early days in the area when "high-rise" was two storeys and "you would go down the street and everyone knew everyone".

"Everyone seems to be so prosperous today", she said, remembering how "you made do" happily with what you had far more in the past.

However, she said philosophically, "you have to advance; you can't stay living in the past".

Having given up nursing when she married in 1954, Edna said the one thing she really missed was her volunteer work with cancer patients at the Tweed Hospital, which she did for 45 years.

"I think everyone should do something for the public; you have to be concerned about people other than yourself," she said.