Four generations gather to celebrate war veteran's 100th birthday
PUBLISHED: 14:09 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:09 16 October 2019
A Second World War veteran whose "strength of character" helped him overcome a childhood in care has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Ron Milton marked the grand day with a party surrounded by four generations of his family, including his three sons John, 77, Gordon, 72, and Derek, 65.
Along with wife Winnie, the couple spent much of their early marriage in North Walsham Road, in Norwich.
Gordon, who lives in Kessingland with wife Cathy, said: "My father never knew his mother or father.
"As a baby he was sent to a family for possible adoption but they decided they did not want him and he spent the whole of his childhood, up to his teenage years, at Beecholme Children's Home in Banstead, Surrey.
"The home took in children from poor areas of London. It was a tough regime and quite traumatic time for him, but my father's strength of character saw him through it and he told himself 'I am going to get out of this.'"
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As a teenager, the centenarian found a job at a launderette, with the owner taking him in like a son. The pair remained in contact.
During the Second World War, Mr Milton served in the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI), where he rose to the rank of sergeant.
He would go on to be based in Norwich, where he met wife Winnie.
The two married on June 5 1945 and were together for more than 60 years until her death three years ago.
After resuming civilian life as an insurance salesman, Mr Milton joined the Norwich branch of the Woolwich Building Society, before moving to Southend to ultimately become district manager.
He retired to Norwich before moving to Brooke House care home, in Brooke.
Gordon said: "My father was always a keen sportsman, playing golf and coaching tennis.
"In Southend, he was an active member of the Round Table, helping to raise a lot of money for local charities."