A regular tipple is Lowestoft Ben’s key to a long, happy life

Ben Burlingham celebrates his 105th birthday at Kirkley Manor Care Home.

Ben Burlingham celebrates his 105th birthday at Kirkley Manor Care Home. - Credit: Nick Butcher

It was the year that Selfridges department store opened in London, legendary tennis player Fred Perry was born and Manchester United lifted the FA Cup for the first time.

Undated handout photo issued by Selfridges of Selfridges on Oxford Street in London, 1931. PRESS ASS

Undated handout photo issued by Selfridges of Selfridges on Oxford Street in London, 1931. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 11, 2009. Selfridges will turn 100 on Sunday with rather less fanfare than its opening in 1909. A full summer of celebrations is planned by the top London department store to start in May, but on the centenary itself doors will open as usual to customers at midday. One hundred years ago, the Oxford Street shop ushered in a new style of shopping to Edwardian Britain. See PA story CONSUMER Selfridges. Photo credit should read: Selfridges/PA Wire - Credit: PA

And the year of 1909 was fondly recalled yesterday, as one of the region's oldest residents celebrated a landmark birthday.

In the year Ben Burlingham was born, Edward VII was on the throne – and yesterday there was a party atmosphere as the popular centenarian received an extra special card from the Queen as he reached the impressive age of 105.

Mr Burlingham celebrated his latest birthday with family, residents and staff at the Kirkley Manor Care Home in Lowestoft. And as the oldest resident at the care home in Kirkley Park Road, the former bus driver was joined by his two children, Maureen and Brian, other relatives and the deputy mayor of Lowestoft, Malcolm Cherry, as he cut his birthday cake and partied the afternoon away.

The great-grandfather, who puts his longevity down to eating raw onions and having a glass of sherry, enjoyed a few sips of his favourite tipple as country and western music was played.


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Born in north London in 1909 Mr Burlingham is one of six children. His mother, Florence, lived until she was 102 and yesterday Mr Burlingham spoke to his brother, Ron, who is now 100, on the telephone.

Mr Burlingham, who served in the RAF at Biggin Hill during the second world war and was a milkman with a horse and cart, has been at the home for almost four years.

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His daughter, Maureen Fiddes, 75, of Gisleham, said: 'He gets lots of loving care in this home – and he is getting younger and younger.'

His son Brian, 77, from Litcham, added: 'When my father moved in to the care home he was poorly, but now he is like a young man again.'

Gary Foley, care home manager, said: 'Ben is always cheerful and has a very positive outlook on life.'

Deputy mayor Mr Cherry added: 'It really is an honour to be here to celebrate with Mr Burlingham.'

Have you got a Lowestoft story? Email mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

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