102-year-old spends birthday morning walking up Hawke’s Bay’s Sugar Loaf Hill | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise
Turning 102 didn’t stop Napier man Trevor Page doing what he has been doing for more than 50 years – climbing up Taradale’s Sugar Loaf Hill every weekday morning.
He was greeted at the top on Tuesday by 17 other regular walkers, who had brought champagne, cake, and a guitar.
Surrounded by torchlight and Napier’s city lights, they sang the chuffed 102-year-old ‘Happy Birthday’.
“I suppose I’ll have to turn 103 now, if this is the welcome I get,” Page chuckled.
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Page rises at 5am and usually walks the steep 127-metre incline unless there’s heavy rain.
At 5.30am on a bitter Tuesday, Page, who is kitted with a body torch, football boots and two walking sticks, begins his ascent up the hill.
Accompanying him is his daughter Michelle Page.
Just before leaving for the climb, another walker stops Michelle Page to tell her she’s leaving her father a gift on his front porch – he’s well-known among those who regularly walk Sugar Loaf (Pukekura).
Page, who had travelled from Great Barrier Island to be with her father on his 102nd birthday said he was an “inspiration” to many, as he continued with his morning routine.
Without realising, he motivated many to get up in the early hours to get a window of exercise before work.
“He’s also inspired a few people who have been recovering from illnesses to get up and walk as well. He’s just incredible.”
“Nobody’s allowed to complain of their aches and pains,” she laughed.
During the climb, Trevor stops every 10m to 20m for a short break, before finally reaching the top about 20 minutes later. He takes the zig-zag track this time, as it rained earlier. Usually he goes straight up the vertical track.
At the top, his fellow walkers gather to serenade him.
Born in Nelson, Page went to Nelson College, describing himself as a “normal schoolboy.”
He later applied to join the Royal NZ Air Force where he worked as a wireless mechanic during the war.
Page later began work in electroplating for Neeco in Wellington. He was the only male worker in a department of 13 women and later started an electroplating business of his own in Gisborne, mainly dealing with cars.
Page also learned to fly planes as a hobby, owning eight during his life. He sold his last plane – a microlite – at age 90.
“I’m absolutely amazed I got to 102, to be honest. I thought when I got to 100, that was it.”
He lives close to Sugar Loaf Hill and said “keeping fit” has always been an important aspect of his life. He didn’t drink until age 70 (and very occasionally enjoys a glass of white wine) and has never smoked.
While keeping fit maybe the key to a long life, Page said he was lucky enough to have worked in a job “he loved.”
“I shut the door on it (work) in 1995, and I’ve always loved exercising and pig hunting.”
Regular walker Walt Rutgers said Page was the reason he walked up the hill every morning. “For me, it’s an absolute privilege to sit down and talk to Trevor every day. He’s so sharp.”
Another local David Dodge, said Page was an “absolute inspiration” to many who walked up the hill.
“He’s Taradale’s Sir Edmund Hillary,” another said.
After a well-deserved cup of tea, Page would be spending the remaining day lunching at the Hawke’s Bay Club, celebrating with his family and of course, preparing for the next day’s walk up Sugar Loaf Hill.