Inglewood Primary teacher aide Anne Bracey's determination to be at her granddaughter's wedding last month saw her through a difficult time recovering from injuries sustained a car crash on New Year's Day.
At the wedding, held on February 16 in Kerikeri, Anne walked to her seat with only a walking stick.
She says, "I was determined to walk at my granddaughter's wedding and I did! It was a wonderful day that I wouldn't have missed for the world."
It was doubted that she would be well enough to attend the wedding after sustaining a broken femur, rib and shoulder fractures, severe gashes to her head and neck, bruising all over her body and a brain bleed after the van Anne and her family were travelling home in collided with another vehicle.
Anne, 77, stayed with her daughter Lynne in Kerikeri after leaving hospital. Inglewood Primary principal Karen Houghton picked up Anne's clothes for the wedding from her house in Fitzroy and couriered them to Kerikeri.
Lynne says her mum enjoyed the pampering at the hairdressers.
"Rosanna the hairdresser did a wonderful job. You couldn't tell that Anne had had part of her head shaved and the one side chopped off to remove the large shards of glass from her scalp.
"It was a balmy summer's day, everyone was in high spirits, even the six special guests who had been in the same accident as Anne. Alexandra made a beautiful bride and wore the dress Anne had had made for her."
Anne plans to return home in the next six weeks.
"You always need to look to the future and set your goals," Anne says, "even if the odds are against you, be positive and gain from the strength of your family, friends and community."
Anne, who has more than 50 years' experience in education, heads the Bannatyne Reading Programme at Inglewood.
Karen says in Anne's absence the school is running other phonic-based programmes, but they are waiting for Anne to again take up Bannatyne.