North Devon centenarian Charles Tucker celebrates his 100th birthday in Barnstaple.
HARD work, a sense of humour and a refusal to retire could be the secrets of longevity according to a North Devon man who celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday.
Charles Tucker was born and bred in North Devon and has spent his life in the area, working on a farm at Woolacombe and then later as a butcher at shops in and around the Ilfracombe area.
Many of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren joined him on Thursday at Oaklands Residential Care Home in Barnstaple, owned by John and Sonia Hall, to celebrate the big century.
He has only been at the home for about a year, moving there from his Braunton home which he shared with his wife Sheila, who was also there for his big day.
Turning 100 had come as ‘a bit of a shock’, he told the North Devon Gazette: “But I suppose it shouldn’t have been,” he added.
“I read a few months ago about a chap who reached 100 and he said he was sure it was down to hard work.
“I started at 14 on Barton Farm at Woolacombe, at 6am in the morning, and finished at 7,8 or 9 at night, but I loved every minute of it.
“I can’t express what it is like to have all the family here today, as I don’t see them too often now – one is in Dubai, others are all over the country.”
Even after ‘retiring’, he kept himself busy with hobbies and projects: “I never really retired, I just didn’t want to, I just kept on and even now, I can’t sit about,” he said.
A keen footballer, he played for Woolacombe and other teams in the Ilfracombe area, and was even offered a trial for Plymouth Argyle, but said he had to turn it down.
Mr Tucker was born at Irsha Street in Appledore. At the age of 12 he was seriously ill with rheumatic fever, which prevented him from being called up for the Second World War, although as a farm labourer he was also in a reserve occupation.
He married his first wife Laura in 1937 and they had three children, a boy and two girls. After her death he remarried again, to Sheila in 1966 and they had a son and daughter.
He spent 15 years working at Barton Farm, but later went on to work at John Isaac butchers in Woolacombe, plus others including Gratton’s in Barnstaple and Warren’s in Combe Martin.