BIRTHDAY boy John Spencer may have been born four years before the start of the First World War, but he’s still full of the joys of spring.
Mr Spencer kissed staff and quaffed champagne as he celebrated his 104th birthday yesterday at Bedewell Grange care home, in Campbell Park Road, Hebburn.
Good sport John, who entered the world in the same year the notorious Dr Crippen poisoned his wife and buried her in the cellar, believes his daily intake of one or two bananas may have helped him enjoy a long and healthy life, but he has no secret for longevity.
Speaking as he enjoyed a kiss and a cuddle from female care staff, Mr Spencer said: “I don’t know why I’ve lived so long, but I had a very good wife, who kept me right.”
Mr Spencer, whose wife, Winnie, died eight years ago, lived for much of his married life in Morris Avenue, South Shields. The couple were happily married for 54 years, but had no children.
Born in Blyth, Northumberland, Mr Spencer was just 10 when he moved to South Shields. His working life has been marked by variety, including a job in The Three Tuns pub, in London, as a young man.
While serving with the Army’s Royal Highlanders during the Second World War, he saw service in both Egypt and India, but he remembers being seasick on the trips there and back, rather than too much about his war service.
For several years, Mr Spencer acted as concert chairman at Hebburn Colliery Club, where his commanding manner and age gained him the nickname of “Your Father.”
Before the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson, arrived to wish him many happy returns, Mr Spencer joked and flirted with female staff at Bedewell Grange.
Care assistant Marie Hann said: “John’s very naughty and causes all sorts of bother – but we love him!”