NEXT MILESTONE: Eric Parsons celebrates his 101st birthday at Bli Bli, alongside wife of 77 years, Violet.
NEXT MILESTONE: Eric Parsons celebrates his 101st birthday at Bli Bli, alongside wife of 77 years, Violet. Iain Curry

Meet the elite club that takes a lifetime to get into

ERIC and Violet Parsons are members of a unique club with thousands of people in the world dying to get in - and then automatically disqualifying themselves.

The Bli Bli residents are part of the 100-plus Club, a club where the only membership criteria is that you have to be over 100 to get in.

And this week, Mr Parsons took his membership up a notch by turning 101.

Mr and Mrs Parsons are also extremely rare in that it is not often a couple are club members at the same time.

Most centenarians reach the club age alone, but Mrs Parsons joined her hubby of 77 years in the membership ranks this March.

When it comes to the secrets of a long life, avoiding the common vices may have helped Mr Parsons. He never gambled, never smoked and never drank at all.

When asked about turning 101, Mr Parsons said he was nothing special.

"I was normal, run of the mill," he said from his Blue Care Bli Bli Aged Care Facility.

His 100th birthday was more of a celebration, with letters from the Queen, the Governor-General, the Premier and local politicians.

Mr Parsons was also invited to lunch at Parliament House with Premier Campbell Newman, with whom he had a "nice chat".

The Parsons' son Tony, and Tony's wife Rhonda, were at Blue Care to join in the 101 festivities.

Listing the highlights of 101 years wasn't easy for Mr Parsons.

He had lived through two wars, the Great Depression, a move from England to Australia and the highs and lows of industry success.

While he didn't say much, it was his actions that were the most telling.

When it came to thinking about the highlights of his 101 years, Mr Parsons simply looked at his wife.

- KATHY SUNDSTROM



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