Mick and Erica GossMick and Erica GossOne of Summerhill’s great inspirations since the gates opened for business almost 30 years ago, turned 80 this past week. Erica Goss, mother and matriarch to Pat and Mick, celebrated in style with 80 of some of the nicest people in creation, which says something about her life.

She’s always been known for her toughness, having returned to the Antarctic and undertaken a balloon safari in Namibia this year, so it’s not surprising only two of the 40 that gathered at Hartford for her 70th birthday a decade ago, were not here to share the day with her on Saturday. The most recent of the two casualties was Springbok cricketing icon Roy McLean, as well as Umgazi River Bungalows founder, Basil Leach. Little doubt they’d have lifted their glasses alongside the old boy, Bryan “Dudu” Goss, from on high.

To mark the occasion, Erica unveiled a commemorative plaque in her honour at the old Summerhill “B” Block, which has just undergone extensive renovations for the occasion. That the renovations met most guests’ approval is apparent  from Chris Saunders’ stud manager’s call early Monday, to find out how it was all done.

You’d have to visit if you want to know what all the fuss is about.