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Veteran Arthur's birthday surprise - a card from Number 10

By Thomas Parkes | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A veteran has celebrated his 92nd birthday with a special personalised card from Boris Johnson.

Arthur Waring, a 92-year-old veteran, from Wolverhampton, has received a birthday card from Boris Johnson

Arthur Waring met with Mr Johnson when the Conservative leader paid tribute to the fallen at Wolverhampton's Cenotaph for Remembrance Day.

And 13 days later, upon entering his favourite pub, The Lych Gate Tavern in the city, the pensioner was handed the card.

He said: "I'm not sure how they did it. It was all to do with people behind the bar and two local councillors.

"I didn't believe it at first – it was addressed to the pub. I wasn't sure because they're devils in here for pulling jokes and then someone came in and said it was genuine. It was greatly appreciated."

Arthur spoke with the PM during his visit to the pub, with Mr Johnson taking a liking to a teddy bear dressed as a First World War soldier.

"I had a conversation when he came in and when he came out as well," he said.

"I had a teddy which was dressed up as a First World War soldier, Private Ted from the Royal Fluffy Fusiliers, which he liked. He is a very nice man – he took me by surprise. We were talking about Private Ted and he must have said something funny because I was laughing.

"I couldn't believe it all – it was the best birthday I've ever had."

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Arthur, who was born in the heart of the city, served in The 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment (3 PARA), in 1948 and spent five years with the regiment – initially signing up to the Ox and Bucks.

His service saw him start off in Aldershot before being transferred to two stations in Germany, before being sent out to the Middle East to Cyprus – which he described as being "like a holiday camp".

Arthur made the decision to stay with the regiment after three years, instead of returning to the Ox and Bucks and served a further two years with the PARAs.

One memory, which stands out amongst the others is his time in Germany.

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The 92-year-old said: "When I was in Germany, Hanover, it was almost flat.

"It was just after the war and the devastation it was like what they did here."

Arthur, who was a carpenter before his service, returned to the job afterwards, adding: "Once a PARA always a PARA."

The veteran now spends his time drinking Black Country Ales' Pig on the Wall in The Lych Gate Tavern, which he describes as the "best pub in Wolverhampton" – with the "friendliest people" he had ever met.

"You ought to have seen the birthday party they gave me – they're lovely people," he said.

"This is what Wolverhampton wants in a pub."

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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