Kidderminster veteran reveals the secret to living a long life on his 103rd birthday

A veteran from Wolverhampton who was evacuated from Dunkirk during the Second World War has celebrated his 103rd birthday at a care home in Kidderminster.

John Beavon was joined by family members, residents and team members to toast the special occasion
John Beavon was joined by family members, residents and team members to toast the special occasion

John – also known as Jack – Beavon was born in the city on November 10, 1919, and moved to Stourbridge when he was two – and attended school in Oldswinford.

He was in the 7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and signed up in June 1939, training at Marlborough before heading off to fight in various places across France.

And the veteran was one of the 338,000 Allied soldiers who were evacuated from Dunkirk between May 26 and June 4, 1940, and is now one of the only survivors left.

He served for six years, from 1939 to 1945, and had achieved the rank of Sergeant. He was transferred in 1945 to Northern Ireland before being brought back to Ashford, Kent.

There he would meet his wife Winifred and he later served at Hells Corner in the Devon area. The pair would later return to Stourbridge and lived with friends, before moving into their first home in 1950.

Jack said he had "some wonderful pals" and loved the quote used while he served which was "let's get to the other side". The couple went on to have two daughters, Janis and Christine, and three grandchildren, Adam, Alex and Becky and they also have four great-grandchildren.

The veteran now lives at Brook Court care home on Oldnall Road, Kidderminster, and marked his 103rd birthday on November 10, and was joined by family members, residents and staff to toast the special occasion.

Revealing his secret to a long and happy life, he said said: “Don’t take things too seriously – get yourself a good wife and family to share your memories with.”

Marking the special milestone with a host of plans, including arranging a trip down to one of Jack’s favourite cafés, staff ensured he enjoyed a celebration to remember.

With a slice of birthday cake and plenty of special gifts on the day, the team threw Jack a big party and organised a surprise lunch at Brook Court where he was joined by his family.

Nirmala Rattu, manager at Brook Court, said: “Everyone had a wonderful time celebrating Jack’s birthday, and he was particularly pleased to see his family surprise him for lunch.

“Jack has been living with his wife Winifred at Brook Court for just over a year now, and it’s fair to say the home wouldn’t be the same without the pair. Jack’s wonderful outlook on life never fails to make us smile and his quick wit definitely keeps us on our toes.

“Here at Brook Court, we always strive to make an occasion of birthdays, and Jack’s 103rd was no exception. We had great fun decorating the home and baking him a special birthday cake.”

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