Richmond centenarian gets 1919 convertible birthday surprise

On Sunday, Jean Bushfield thought her family were picking her up to go for a spot of lunch to celebrate her 100th birthday.

So you can imagine her surprise when her son-in-law, Ralf Hallum, and her grandson, Ken Hallum, arrived at her home of 66 years in south Richmond in a chauffeur-driven, 1919 Model T convertible.

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It was, of course, no coincidence that the collectors’ car was made in 1919, the same year that Bushfield arrived into the world in her native town of Ayr, Scotland.

And, at the end of a mile and a half or so cruise around the neighbourhood, there was another surprise waiting for the centenarian at South Arm United Church.

Instead of going for lunch, her family, including daughter, Jeanetta Hallum, and son, Jim Bushfield, had organized a surprise party for around 30 relatives, some of whom had gotten delayed at the U.S. border and made their own late entrance, adding to the list of pleasant shocks for Bushfield.

“She had a great time, she was totally surprised,” said Ralf Hallum.

“We didn’t tell her anything, as she has a habit of getting stressed out, but she jumped right into the car without hesitation, she loved it.

“And she was very excited when we arrived at the church and found out there was a party for her.”

Hallum said his mother-in-law emigrated from in 1946, not long after the end of the Second World War.

“She was born in 1919, so the Model T convertible was perfect for the occasion,” he added.

“My friend, Adil, owns it and he was more than happy to help. We drove, with the top down, the mile and a half or so to the church. It has a top speed of 35 mph, though, so there was chance of speeding.”

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