Point Vernon resident Patricia Wolzak celebrating her 90th birthday with daughter Anne Ham and friend (L) Raelene Jury as well wishers drive by her house. Photo: Alistair Brightman
Point Vernon resident Patricia Wolzak celebrating her 90th birthday with daughter Anne Ham and friend (L) Raelene Jury as well wishers drive by her house. Photo: Alistair Brightman

DRIVE-BY KINDNESS: Coast residents join party trend

A POINT VERNON senior citizen has joined a growing birthday party trend, sparked by strict social distancing rules.

As the ongoing coronavirus crisis forced us into our homes, residents found inventive ways to celebrate their birthdays without being surrounded by loved ones.

When Patricia Wolzak's 90th birthday arrived, she and her family, friends and neighbours decided to jump on the drive-by birthday party bandwagon.

Patricia's friends and neighbours, including members of the Hervey Bay Golf Club, drove past her house and blew their horns to mark the occasion on Tuesday.

Patricia is not the only Fraser Coast resident who has enjoyed a drive-by birthday party.

Hervey Bay's Angus Cornwall celebrated his fifth birthday party in the same way in March.

My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals stars Dan and Steph Mulheron are asking Bay residents to help celebrate their daughter Emmy's fifth birthday by driving past Eat on April 23 between 10am and 11am.

The pair had planned a huge party with 150 guests before the pandemic led to the event being cancelled.

Dan said the drive-by would include Dunga Derby cars, the fire brigade, a police car and Mr Whippy.

Patricia only learnt about the plans for her party on the weekend but never thought so many people would take the time to wish her a happy birthday.

Her daughter, Anne Ham decorated her front lawn with banners and balloons.

Cars that joined the new birthday brigade trend displayed happy birthday signs and windows were wound down as a cheerful "happy birthday" was sent Patricia's way.

"Although only briefly, it was really good to see all my friends again," Patricia said.

"I normally play golf at least three times a week, but because of the pandemic, I haven't been able to play in about two weeks."

Patricia is the oldest competing member of the golf club.

"It is really important for people to continue doing what they always did," she said when sharing her secret on staying fit and healthy.

She walks daily and enjoys doing crosswords and other puzzles.

"You have to keep your mind and body active," she said.

Patricia moved to Australia in 1965.

This is not her first experience of lockdown conditions.

"We had some isolation periods in the UK during the war," she said.

"We survived that and got on with our lives, just like we will after this."