100th birthday bash 'best ever' says Len

The sky was the limit when a Chapel St Leonards man celebrated his 100th birthday

Len Harper joined family and friends at the St Leonards Restaurant today (Wednesday) for a roast dinner lunch - following a trip to RAF Coningby yesterday, which was his actual birthday.

Len Harper (right) celebrates his 100th birthday with family and friends.

Len Harper (right) celebrates his 100th birthday with family and friends.

The RAF veteran - who served in India and Burma during the Second World War - said he knew he was visiting the base, where he was stationed for a short time before being sent abroad, but was surprised at the welcome.

"They gave me a really good do," he said. "They took me all round and showed me the old aircraft. This birthday is the best I've ever had."

Among the friends from St Leonards Church, where he serves as sidesman every week, was the Rev Terry Bardell, who retires on Sunday after nine years.

He said: "Len has been a sidesman at the church welcoming the congregation and handing out hymn and prayer books all the time I've been there - in fact, we believe he must be the oldest sidesman at least in Lincolnshire.

Len Harper celebrated his special 100th birthday by sharing  a RAF themed cake with family and friends.

Len Harper celebrated his special 100th birthday by sharing a RAF themed cake with family and friends.

"It is a tremendous feat."

Len has a son Raymond, daughter Suzanne Stone, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He moved to Chapel St Leonards to retire with his late wife Ethel 24 years ago after doing a variety of jobs after the war, including working on the railway and selling insurance.

Suzanne said: "Dad has always been interested in trains and planes. He's doing really well and he's very independent."

And what is Len's secret? Served with a roast beef dinner and with an impressive RAF-themed 100th birthday cake waiting for later, he said: "Eat well, drink well and sleep well."