Still entertaining the elderly – at 93

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Shirley Gillies is proud to be tinkling the ivories as she approaches her 94th birthday.

For 25 years, Mrs Gillies, who now lives near Herbert, has travelled every second Friday to play for the elderly at Iona Enliven Care Home in Oamaru.

“I enjoy the old songs,” she told the Oamaru Mail

“My mother sang and my father played the piano by ear .. I think I did inherit some of those things from both my parents.”

Mrs Gillies first started playing the piano at the age of 9.

She grew up in Oamaru and had a passion for music, and remembers being taught to play the piano by a cousin in Timaru.

“I was intrigued to be able to co-ordinate the tune.”

The piano she plays was passed down from her father.

When she entertains at Iona, she plays the songs she knows – “because there’s plenty of those from over the years.”

When she is not playing the piano, Mrs Gillies also enjoys writing poems for children.

She turns 94 next month.