A Woolgoolga wish come true as Elma Miller, 106, enjoys ‘bucket list’ meeting with alpacas

Born in 1916, Elma Miller has been through a lot, from the Spanish flu to COVID-19, many wars, four kings and a queen, and the advent of modern computers and cell phones.

But despite being an avid knitter throughout her life, the 106-year-old has never encountered an alpaca – until recently.

“She’s always been fascinated by aspects of wool and just decided she’s never seen any and wants to know all about them,” her granddaughter Kerry Miller said.

Still eager to get her wishes fulfilled, Kerry traveled from Victoria to reunite with Elma’s family and local community in Woolgoolga, New South Wales to tick the item off her to-do list.

Elma Miller smiles face to face with an alpaca holding a bucket of food
Elma Miller was thrilled to meet two local alpacas.(ABC Coffs Coast: Indiana Hansen)

“Kissed by an Alpaca”

Elma’s reaction included both shock and joy.

“I love them. I would love to bring one home, but we are not allowed pets [in the nursing home],” she says.

“They are such gentle creatures.”

She said at “106 and three quarters”, being kissed by an alpaca was “something strange”.

“I’ve never been kissed by an alpaca before,” Elma said.

Kerry said her grandmother’s reaction made the search for an alpaca all the more rewarding.

“At 106, who can deny a wish? I just tried to make it come true.”

Lady is holding two alpacas on a leash.
Alpacas Millie and Joc were kind when they met Elma Miller.(ABC Coffs Coast: Indiana Hansen)

Kerry said she didn’t know where to find an alpaca and appealed on social media.

“[These] wonderful ladies responded to the [post],” she says.

“They have a two-month-old baby and a nine-month-old baby.”

‘Pure Joy’

The family came together from near and far to grant Elma’s last wish, including her great-granddaughter Darcy Heffernan, who described it as “pure bliss” to see the special request come true. achieve.

“I haven’t seen her in three years due to COVID and moved up north [to Queensland] for college,” she says.

“It’s something she’s wanted to do for a long time.”

Elma Miller's family smile for the camera as she is busy feeding two alpacas from her wheelchair.
Elma Miller’s family visit from all over Australia to surprise her with two alpacas.(ABC Coffs Coast: Indiana Hansen)

‘I want to cry’

Kerry said she wanted to cry in response to Elma’s excitement at the thought of petting an alpaca for the first time.

“It’s awesome…and the community here is beautiful to support it,” she said.

“Everything went very well.

“She’s not upset at all, as you can see, and that keeps her mind active.

“It will give him something to talk about for months now.”

Elma will be 107 next March, and Kerry says her plan is to reach 110.

“We haven’t seen the wishlist for that one yet,” she said.

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