Veteran celebrates 100th birthday on New Year's Day - and says 'whisky a night' is secret to a long and happy life

A veteran who turns 100 on New Years Day says his long and happy life is down to a ‘chaser of whisky’ a night.

Wednesday, 1st January 2020, 6:00 am

Arnold Foster, of East Boldon Road in Cleadon, will celebrate his 100th birthday at the turn of a new decade, on January 1, 2020.

One of four children, Arnold was born in Darlington in 1920 and began work as an apprentice electrician at North Road railway station at the age of just 14.

During World War Two, he serviced spitfires in the Royal Air Force and spent a year in India in 1945 while it was still part of the British Empire.

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Arnold Foster celebrates his 100th birthday on New Year's Day.

On D Day, June 6, 1944, Arnold was granted leave from the forces as he prepared to wed his wife Marjorie.

Married four days later on June 10, 1944, the couple spent 71 happy years together, going on to have four children, John, Geoff, Susan and James, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Arnold continued to work as an electrician on the railways all his life until his retirement in 1982, moving the family to Moorfield Gardens in Cleadon in 1960 - not far from where he lives today – when he started work in Newcastle.

“My dad has lived a very full and active life,” said son James Foster, 62.

Arnold Foster celebrates his 100th birthday on New Year's Day with son's John Foster, James Foster (right) and granddaughter Laura Foster.

“He’s the only one in the family who has reached this sort of age. He still lives in his own home, just around the corner from my sister, and likes keeping up with the news and what the rest of the family are up to.”

On New Year’s Day around 50 relatives and friends – many travelling from across the UK – who have known Arnold throughout his life will raise a glass to him at a birthday celebration hosted by daughter Susan in Cleadon.

“He was delighted with his telegraph from the Queen,” continued James.

“The family are all very proud of him for what he has achieved in getting to 100 and hopefully he’s got a few years left in him yet.”

Arnold Foster, who celebrates his 100th birthday on New Year's Day, with his telegraph from the Queen.

He added: “I think he would say his secret is enjoying a chaser of whisky every night.”