At 93, Lorna Streat’s life is full of connections – most of them within her own neighbourhood and many on or near the same patch of ground she has been living on for the past 68 years.

When she first arrived as a newlywed in Henderson, her street was gravel and her neighbours included farmers and vintners. “We knew everyone up and down the road,” she says.

When the rates went up from £10 a year to $1000 in the space of 12 months, Lorna and her husband had to sub-divide their property to cover the cost, as it was more than their salary.

This brought more connections into her life. Bill (pictured with Lorna) has been Lorna’s neighbour and good friend for 56 years and she has other neighbours who have lived there for at least 25 years.

Chutneys and children

Over the decades the neighbourhood has shared jams, chutneys and advice. Their kids have played together and they’ve helped one another through illness and grief.

Lorna remembers a lonely Scottish woman next door whose husband was in the Air Force and away much of the time.

“She was kicked out of her flat once she became pregnant, so I used to walk for an hour to visit her in Edmonton Road and take her baby out for a bit. She moved back to Scotland, but still calls me at Christmas to have a chat.”

She is not the only one who cherishes Lorna’s kindness. “When my husband was alive, five people in one year asked us to adopt them. They all said they’d had difficult childhoods and no-body to love them. We held an unofficial adoption ceremony in the kitchen. They became part of our family and we still keep in touch.”

Still connecting others

Although Lorna’s life is a little quieter these days, if she can find a way to bring people together or help them, she does.

A devout Catholic, she holds a prayer group every Tuesday which brings like-minded people into her living room to share their faith. And thanks to daughter Trish, Lorna is still in contact with many old neighbours who have since moved away.

Lorna is a woman who is adored by her four children and has never been afraid to go out of her way for others. She knows these connections are good for everyone’s wellbeing.