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Cliff joins Centenarian Club

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January 24, 2018

Cliff Forge, with his sister Mary Fielder on the left, celebrated his 100th birthday in Corowa on Saturday afternoon with family and friends.

Cliff Forge remembers the days of riding a pony to school and using horses to plough fields, not the computerised equipment his sons now use.

The Corowa football legend, renowned for his wit and banter, became the latest Corowa resident to join the Centenarian Club on Saturday and celebrated surrounded by 160 family and friends.
One of his five children, Kim Singleton, recounted the time that he injured himself using a tractor.
“I can remember as a young girl that the doctors wanted to amputate part of a finger but he refused,” she said.
“His story later on was that although it was bent and had little feeling, he could still hold a beer in that hand.”
It’s a good thing he kept that finger because he still enjoys his beer to this day, along with his number one passion – football.
Cliff’s name is well-known in the local football circles where he was a long-time president of Corowa and was at the helm of the Ovens and Murray football league from 1975 to 1981.
It was only fitting that his birthday be held at the clubrooms of John Foord Oval, a place he has spent a lot of time over the years.
Cliff, who moved into Karinya House recently, does not let his age hold him back from getting around.
He can often be found zipping up and down the main street in his mobility scooter and seen chatting to local farmers, offering advice about the latest practices and issues which he keeps up to speed on.
Born as Thomas Clifton Forge at St Margaret’s Hospital in Corowa on January 20, 1918, he is the eldest of five children and the only surviving sibling is Mary Fielder of Jindera, who attended the party and will be 93 in May.
He moved to Lockhart in 1925 and it was while they were there that his younger brother, Arthur, died of diphtheria.
In about 1936, the family moved to Walla Walla where both his parents worked in the butcher shop before his father, Bob, died of a brain tumour near the end of WWII.
After that his mother kept working at the butcher shop and Cliff helped out.
Cliff also worked the family farm at Walla and anyone who knows him could attest to just how hard of a worker he was and, by all accounts, a very good farmer.
As a young man he had tried to join the police force but there was a mix up with paper work so he was never successful, much to his disappointment.
He now has a great grandson who is part of a special unit in Sydney, which makes him proud as he is of all his family.
Cliff was also very disappointed that he was not allowed to serve his country in WWII.
He was told that he was too valuable at home and had to run the farm and butcher shop.
The family moved from Walla to Balldale in the early 1960s and then to Corowa in 1970, then to Rennie about 1979, all the while as a farmer.
He married his wife, Ollie, and they had five children who enjoyed life on the farm.
Everyone, from an AFL coach who visited to the bloke next door or down the road, was welcome at the farm and were always well looked after with anything from a cuppa, a cold drink, a meal or a bed, along with a yarn.
Sport was a major part of his life.
Cliff played in premierships at Lockhart and Walla, as well as being on the committee and president at both clubs.
He played a season at Walla with his son, Neville, in the senior team.
According to his children, there is still much debate about who was the better player.
When he moved to Corowa he was a committee man there before taking on the presidency from 1969 to 1974 and then was Ovens and Murray Football League President from 1975 to 1981.
Cliff also enjoyed playing tennis and played at Balldale with Ollie, who passed away 12 years ago.
Kim said she could remember packing up her dolls into the car to play with each Saturday while her parents played tennis.
“Then when in Corowa he played there and I was his Ball Girl until I was old enough to play,” she said.
“He was the envy of many other players for not having to chase balls.”
It was while in Corowa that he played with his daughter-in-law, Bev Forge.
Cliff’s involvement in sport has been carried on by all his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
His family have been involved in many aspects of sports from playing, running the boundary, doing the scoreboard, working canteens, being on committees and whatever else has been required - all because of Cliff’s love and involvement in sport.

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