Happiness is half a pint at Stourbridge pub for 106-year-old Jack
A twinkle in his eye, friends and family arm in arm and one hand nursing a half pint – Jack Jones is no ordinary 106-year-old.
He may be among the oldest men in the country, but the retired lorry driver has not lost his sense on where to have a good time.
A regular of the Greyhound in Stourbridge for more than 30 years, Jack knew just where he wanted to be to mark his latest landmark birthday – down the pub.
"I like a Banks's Bitter," said Jack. "Then a plaice and chips with peas, but not too many peas. This is where I like to be."
Jack, who lived independently until a year ago, is a familiar face at the pub having always turned up every Wednesday for his regular half-pint of Banks's Bitter and fish and chips.
He is so popular among customers and staff that when he turned 101 the pub decided to award him with a weekly complementary drink for the rest of his life.
Only this year has Jack been forced to retire to his home – but staff at Tudor Manor Care Home, in Brook Street, Stourbridge, were keen for him not to miss a chance for a return.
"Coming here isn't so easy any more, so days like these are even more special," he said. "What's better is seeing everyone come so far to see me. I feel so lucky to have these friends."
Care home manager Nischa Pritchard joined him for a drink. She said: "There was only one thing we had in mind for Jack's birthday.
"We knew how much he enjoyed coming here every week, so we brought him back here today. You can see how happy he is."
Friends for 15 years, Adele Cleeton first met Jack when she offered him a lift to see his sister in hospital. Until a couple of years ago she would join him for a regular evening out at the theatre or restaurant.
She said: "He's a wonderful man, very easy to talk to and always positive on life. It's not surprising he has so many friends."
Nephew Bob Goode, aged 84, said: "He doesn't get out so much anymore so something like this for him is a real treat."
Pub manager Georgina Hodgkiss said: "Every Wednesday he would come here for fish and chips.
"He is a real character who everyone has missed. We are delighted to see him again."
Jack was born in Enville to parents William and Kate Jones He later moved to Churchill as a child and attended the local school.
Earlier this month he told how his memory of the First World War was seeing a British fighter pilot make an emergency landing in a field 300 yards from his school classroom.
He left aged 14 and went to work for Goodwin Foster Brown's in Dudley.
It was not until he was 17 and he passed his driving test did his career as a lorry driver take off.
Among the companies he worked for were building contractor George Law in Kidderminster and Coventry Corporation. He also worked at the Austin factory in Longbridge making cars before a stint producing parts for fighter planes during the Second World War.
During the war he would also volunteer at the Second Hagley Scout group turned aircraft recognition group to spot German planes in the sky.
He only stopped working at the age of 76, handing his driving licence in aged 96.
He married his wife Winn in Stourbridge in 1939, and the pair lived in Windsor Road in Norton and then Greyhound Lane in Stourbridge.
His wife died 22 years ago.
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