There was an extra special luncheon at the Paraparaumu Croquet Club to mark Neville Sandiford’s 100th birthday.
The celebration, on Tuesday, was attended by club members and other invited guests.
Neville, who was born in Stratford in 1923, is the oldest active member of the club and a very popular competitor and friend to many.
He joined the club in 2005 after moving to the Kāpiti district but started playing croquet at the Wellington Memorial Croquet Club 22 years ago, quickly mastering the game and featuring on their honours board.
Moving to the coast with his wife, he joined the Paraparaumu Croquet Club in 2005.
Neville plays both Association Croquet and Golf Croquet and has had many successes and won many trophies in both.
Until very recently he played one game in the morning and one in the afternoon as well as entering many competitions and playing in interclub teams in both disciplines.
He still plays in both disciplines but mainly once a day.
Neville also loves swimming and regularly swims 20 lengths of the pool at Kāpiti Village where he lives.
In 2022 Croquet New Zealand awarded him a bronze medal for winning his game whilst making a 10-hoop break during the course of an AC game.
“This is a very rare achievement even more so at 98 years of age,” the club’s Venna Seymour said.
Neville trained as a gunner in the Royal Air Force in World War II. On one of his final training flights in 1945 he was the only survivor of a Wellington bomber which caught fire and crashed. Sustaining serious head injuries, he has very little memory of this event and came home after being discharged from the hospital in Oxford.
Following a long career in the railways, Neville retired (for the first time) and went on to have two more careers, one as an owner of a Four Square in Miramar and another as the owner of an electrical shop. Finally at 78, Neville retired.
“The Paraparaumu Croquet enjoyed celebrating Neville’s 100th birthday and can only marvel at his continued fitness and good health,” Venna said.