Large family hails Lance’s 90th
VETERAN Lance Cooke celebrated his 90th birthday in a big way with all of his eight children, 12 grandchildren and his scores of great-grandchildren.
The former RAAF gunner and Distinguished Flying Medal recipient has been described as a humble and quiet man by his daughter Leanne Munson.
"He has a very sharp mind," she said.
"He ducked home early, so we had to drag him back for a photo," she laughed.
Mr Cooke, who has always remained close to his family, receives welcome daily visits from his children.
"Dad has always been very capable of looking after himself; he is very independent," Mrs Munson said.
The usual birthday celebrations took place with a sit-down meal and a birthday cake.
However, not all 90 candles made an appearance.
"We wouldn't have done all of them, it would have been a bushfire," Mrs Munson joked.
More than 50 members of the Cooke clan were present, many of whom had travelled at least two hours to celebrate the milestone.
"My sister also flew in from Rockhampton for it," she said.
Mrs Munson said the day was bittersweet for her father Mr Cooke who lost his wife only a year ago at the age of 90.
"He would have loved her to be there," she said.
"Our parents had a hard life, but did their best raising us.
"We are a close family and get together for nearly every event, Mother's Day, Christmas, whatever," she said.
"We can only just fit them all, lucky we have a big house," she said.