Hornchurch man celebrates a long and happy life

WHAT do you get if you add 100, 72, and 40? The answer is a long life, well-lived; a lasting and happy marriage; and great friends and neighbours.

Just ask newly-turned centenarian George West, who celebrated his landmark birthday in style last weekend with proud wife Lily, 96, by his side.

The couple celebrated an incredible 72 years together two months ago.

A special surprise celebration was organised by the close-knit community of Fairfield Close, in Hornchurch, on Sunday (October 24).

The couple have lived there for the past 40 years, and amazingly continue to live independently despite having a “few aches and pains”.

It’s not often that someone can say they are a “whipper-snapper” at the age of 96, but when your husband has recently celebrated his 100th birthday, you might just be justified.

“Well I suppose I’m a whipper-snapper compared to him!”, joked Lily.

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“It’s funny, one minute you are just two young things together and the next you wake up and he’s turned 100.

“It seems to happen in a blink of an eye.”

Around 40 friends and neighbours were joined by special guest Havering Mayor, Cllr Pam Light, for an afternoon of food and entertainment in Holy Cross Church Hall, Hornchurch Road, Hornchurch.

As part of the birthday celebrations, a specially-composed song commemorating the birthday boy’s life, entitled George West – Simply the Best, was sung.

George, who worked in various jobs since he was just 11 years-old, said: “It was a really beautiful day. I was glad so many people could make it.

“At my age you wonder who’s going to be there for you the next year!

“We have so many friends who live in Fairfield and they look after us so well, always calling in to make sure we’re alright.

“They’re like a second family to us.”

Lily and George’s son Kevin, 57, said: “The event was a culmination of many weeks careful plotting and planning by the residents of Fairfield Close.

“It was a great success and suitable tribute to a great friend, neighbour and father.”

The platinum couple, who still live independently, got married in 1939 at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church in Ilford

They then moved into their first home together, in Laburnham Avenue, Hornchurch.

About 30 years ago George and Lily, who used to work as a psychiatric nurse, moved to Fairfield Close with Kevin.

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