Bundaberg resident Sheila Hume is one of 33 people receiving their Australian Citizenship on 3 July at the Bundaberg Multiplex, just ten days before her 90th birthday.
Sheila, originally from Market Harborough in the UK, moved to Australia with her husband Tom in 2010 after visiting her son Robin and his family who had emigrated to Bundaberg.
“We came for a holiday, we loved it so much we decided to stay,” Sheila said.
“So we came over with the two dogs, and lived with Robin, Lesley and the kids.”
Sadly Tom passed away in June 2011 but Sheila decided to stay and see through their joint wish of living in Australia.
She was eventually granted an Aged Parent visa in 2021.
“I’ve been quite happy here and have some good friends,” Shelia said.
“It’s easy going and friendly and I have all the help I want.
“I just love it.”
Citizenship is very important to Sheila who said she was most excited about being able to vote.
“I’m over the moon about it, really I am,” she said.
“It’s all thanks to Les, she’s put in all the hard work, everything from day one.”
The family have a special lunch planned to mark Sheila’s 90th birthday with about twenty people gathering to celebrate her.
“Don’t remind me!” she joked.
Sheila was born on 13 July 1933 in Warwick in the UK.
It was a tough start with the Second World War breaking out in 1939 when she was just six years old.
In 1953 Sheila married her husband Geoffrey (known as Tom) in Market Harborough and they loved nothing more than getting out and about on his motorbike.
Their son Robin was born, also on 13 July, in 1962 followed by their daughter Lisa in 1966.
Robin, his wife Lesley and their sons Neil and George moved to Bundaberg in 2004 on a Sponsored Visa to work for a local company.
After 56 years of married life in the UK, Tom and Shelia made the big decision to leave behind all they knew as well as their daughter Lisa, son-in-law John and granddaughter Holly, and make the permanent move to Australia.
After Tom passed away just a year later, Sheila stayed on making the most of her new life abroad.
“She has a great can-do attitude and is always keen to learn,” Lesley said of her mother-in-law.
“The warmer Bundaberg weather allows her to be active all year round and you don’t find her sitting down for long.”
Sheila still drives and lives independently at her home in Avoca where the family often come to visit to mow the lawn, drop off a Sunday roast or just enjoy a cup of tea and a chat.
She loves her garden and her dog Sammy and can be found pottering around outside most days.
She’s also adapted to the digital age and does her banking and shopping online as well as using Facebook and Messenger and video calling her family in the UK every week.
Shelia is grandmother to Neil who works as a maths teacher at Gin Gin State High School and George who is in his second year at university also studying to be a maths teacher.
She is also great-grandmother to Neil and his partner Claire’s son Thomas who turned two in May, making them “the newest oldest Aussie and the newest youngest Aussie” in the family.