Photo gallery: East Tuddenham’s Percy Norton celebrates 100 years
- Credit: Matthew Usher
When Percy Norton returned from the second world war with serious injuries, he was given just months to live – but after defying all the odds, the father-of-two is today celebrating his 100th birthday.
'Percy the Resurrection' was once how the King's Lynn-born war veteran was described by the hospital matron who treated him after he survived a shell blast.
The former butcher, who lives in East Tuddenham, returned from France with injuries to his abdomen, spleen and lungs. He spent 13 months in hospital in Weston-super-Mare and was left with a partial lung.
It was only when he returned to the hospital where he was treated in 1945, some 18 months after the accident, he was told they thought he had only three months to live.
This week, however, he received a birthday card from the Queen, marking his centenary, and is celebrating his special day with friends and family.
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'It's an achievement – not everybody gets a card from the Queen,' said Mr Norton, who has two daughters, Marilyn, 58, and Angela, 66.
'I remember when I went to see the matron at the hospital, I went to the door and the nurse came. I said 'get me the matron please' and the matron came.
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'She stood there as if she had seen a ghost and said: 'Percy the resurrection' and told me how they had sent me home with three months to live. They couldn't tell me at the time.
'But I've had a very good life. I've had a very enjoyable life, apart from the 13 months in hospital.'
Mr Norton, who took a trip on Concorde before it was retired, was still driving up until six years ago but had to stop because of his deteriorating eyesight.
Nevertheless, he still exercises on his indoor bicycle and he goes fishing most Saturdays during the summer season.
The widower, who lost his wife Ellen in 1991, also still travels up and down the country with his daughter Marilyn to go to dog shows.
They have nine dachshunds which they enter into all championships, including Crufts.
They have qualified for Crufts every year since Mr Norton and his late wife started to enter and have won a number of rosettes, including best of breed in 2012.
Mr Norton put his longevity down to keeping himself fit.
The Norwich City fan, who still remembers the days of cycling to Norwich from East Tuddenham to watch the Canaries play at The Nest, said: 'I used to go in for nearly every sport there was – running, cycling, cross-country. I would cycle to Holt, North Walsham and I used to hold the record for cycling up one of the hills at Ringland Hills.
'I've always been fit. I've been fit all my life, I've always been one for sport and exercise; every sort of sport and getting in the gym. I put my long life down to hard work, healthy life and healthy diet.'
Mr Norton's family has arranged a surprise birthday party for him today at the Buck, in Honingham ,where there are expected to be 40 guests.
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For more photos, go to this story on www.edp24.co.uk.