Marina Da Gama has unfolded before Christina Doyle, who has lived there since the 1980s when there were only 60 houses in the area. She has seen nearly 1500 houses rise up around the estuary. The area has changed, understandably, and so has she.
From her lounge, she indicates the grand house and the property she still calls her own.
“My husband and I worked hard to earn this, we both came from good, but poor, families.
“This doesn’t just happen,” she says.
However, now that her empire has been built- the four children have left the house and are all living abroad, and the family business has changed from event hosting from the family home (many locals were married there) to guest cottages – Ms Doyle simply couldn’t face another birthday present.
“I’ve had 70 years of them, and I still have soaps and lotions from my 60th,” she laughs.
“I wanted my 70th to meet somebody else’s needs.”
So she asked all her friends and family to buy children’s gifts in-
stead of celebrating her birthday on Friday, October 28.
Family and friends arrived in red-and-white Christmas outfits to a winterwonderland which had been created in Ms Doyle’s garden.
The guests arrived smiling and laden with presents which were placed in a sleigh (complete with an icy white reindeer) and the festivities were completed by the Dance Trackt roupe who performed Irish dancing on Ms Doyle’s jetty. Ms Doyle sponsors the dancers, who were delighted to put on a show for her.
The beautifully wrapped shoebox gifts will be divided between two charities.
“I chose the St Vincentde Paul Society who are with the St James Catholic Church and the Capricorn Community Church, and I will make sure the gifts go to those whose needs are far more important than my birthday.”
Her beautiful home has been opened to lo-
cal greats (such as David Kramer) Jeremy Taylor (who lived in the marina) and Alvon Collison, among many others. It was also open to the tiny community as a private home cinema and for keep-fit classes and cheese-and-wine evenings, in the early years.
“There were exactly nine children in the Marina in the 80s when we moved in. They grew up together and became firm friends. It was such a different time. You never saw them: they were out sailing, running, hiking, exploring. We’d have to tell them to be home in time for Dallas, which started at 9pm,” she laughed.
“Living here was always all about the community,”Ms Doyle said.
She lauded Elaine Meyer of Upper Crust in the Eastlake Centre, for holding together the community spirit of the area in these more modern times.
“Elaine is remarkable, this place would fall apart without her. She is continuing the community spirit of those years, today.”