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Birthday boy Jack Bennett, 102, credits lovely sea air for his long life

PUBLISHED: 17:08 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 07 November 2018

Jack Bennett, 102, and his partner Ruth Walford. Picture: David Bale

Jack Bennett, 102, and his partner Ruth Walford. Picture: David Bale

Archant

Birthday cards for 102-year-olds are quite hard to come by, so Ruth Walford had to create her own for partner Jack Bennett.

The couple live together in Meadow Drive, Mundesley, and celebrated Mr Bennett’s birthday today at the Sea Marge hotel in Overstrand.

Remarkably the pair don’t have any carers or helpers at their home, as they can cope on their own.

They got together after their respective partners died around the same time.

What started off as a friendship developed in to something more, although Ruth admits that she’s now as much Mr Bennett’s carer as his partner.

He has lived in the same house in Mundesley for about 30 years, and has been partners with Ruth for 18 years.

Mr Bennett was born in Mill Hill, London on November 7, 1916, and attributes his long life to several things.

One of them is a drop of whisky daily at 11am, and he added: “Coming to live up here and the lovely air we get off the sea is another. And my partner makes me very good food.”

Up until a few years ago Mr Bennett was a keen gardener and grew his own vegetables.

He has two daughters, one of whom lives in France and the other in North Yorkshire, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He still enjoys reading and, apart from being slightly deaf, is as bright and mentally agile as someone much younger.

He was working for the De Havilland aircraft company during the Second World War so did not serve.

His partner said: “We manage well. My daughter, Sandy Gunning, who lives in Bawburgh, is a good girl and helps us.”

Mrs Gunning said: “He likes his history so we told him that Winston Churchill might have sat at the same place at the Sea Marge.”

Her husband George Gunning said: “He worked for De Havilland during the war on the air screws for the Spitfires on propeller production. “Later in the war they had to change them because they could not go as high as the German planes did, so his work had an impact on the outcome of the war.”

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