Les has a ton of happy times
LES Herse is having a party today that will pack the Sundale Palmwoods Retirement Village hall, but he has more to celebrate than the fact he turned 100 yesterday.
The Second World War veteran of the PNG campaign hasn't struggled to get over the line.
Despite the walkers they both use, he and his vivacious bride of 67 years, Vera, radiate humour and happiness.
The walls of their retirement unit, which backs on to native vegetation, are lined with pictures that recall a lifetime of memories.
Both remain sharp of mind and quick of wit, their longevity, according to Les, attributable to a life working the land.
The couple sadly lost one of their five children, a son, to a malignant cyst but the others have borne them 36 grandchildren who are now having their own offspring.
The couple moved to Palmwoods in 1950, tempted by the offer of a half share in a pineapple farm from Les's cousin, and quickly made themselves part of the furniture.
The citrus, pines and sweet potato they grew helped Palmwoods to glory at the Nambour Show, Brisbane Ekka and even Sydney Royal at a time Nambour and its districts were the sub-tropical fruit bowl of Queensland.
The Palmwoods Bowls Club provided Les with a break from hard work.
Vera, 96, and now patroness of the Palmwoods Senior Citizens, was for many years the Nambour Chronicle's regional correspondent, giving the game away only when Sunshine Coast Newspapers moved to a seven-day production.
During the war years, Les, a gunner, manned a 155mm mobile cannon and dodged bombs dropped during night raids by the Japanese.
Vera worked in the Air Force at Archerfield with Pan Am and US Naval Transport Service.