Willow Tree resident to celebrate his 100th birthday and independence

INDEPENDENT: Willow Tree resident Cyril Barwick in front of his trusty van, which he has driven for the past 32 years. He will celebrate his 100th birthday on December 23. Picture: Ben Murphy.

INDEPENDENT: Willow Tree resident Cyril Barwick in front of his trusty van, which he has driven for the past 32 years. He will celebrate his 100th birthday on December 23. Picture: Ben Murphy.

NOT many of us will reach three figures, yet alone still be driving by that age. But long-time Willow Tree resident Cyril Barwick is, remarkably, about to do both. 

The fiercely independent character, who turns 100 on December 23, continues to travel around town in his trusty van. “I’ve had a driver’s licence for 64 years, with no infringements as far as I can remember,” he says.

“The only thing I’ve had is a few police officers pull me over to tell me I’m driving too slow. The freedom to drive means everything to me.”

A top-quality tennis player for many years, Cyril also spent countless hours coaching children and taking care of the courts at Willow Tree and Quirindi. He gave up playing the sport competitively in his late 80s, but maintains a keen interest.

As a returned serviceman who fought in the Middle East and Papua New Guinea during World War II, Cyril knows just how fortunate he is to still be alive.

“I did fully expect to be killed,” he says.

“We faced months of active fire, and I was lucky to escape being hurt.

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