Army veteran born and bred in Northampton celebrates 100th birthday today

George Smith has today received his telegram from The Queen.
George Smith has today received his telegram from The Queen.

A former boot and shoe clicker, who worked at Churches factory for 52 years, has today received his telegram from The Queen.

George Smith, 100, of Leslie Road in Semilong was born in his upstairs bedroom on March 27, 1918, where he still lives 100 years-to-the-day later.

George celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday, March 25 surrounded by family and friends.

George celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday, March 25 surrounded by family and friends.

At his birthday party at the Northampton Casuals RFC on Sunday (March 25) he was presented with a bottle of champagne and a cheque for £100 from Churches factory worker Ray Holmes who he periodically worked alongside during his 52-year career as a boot clicker after he left school at 14 years old.

George's nephew Brian Smith said his uncle was over the moon with his surprise presents: "It was really unexpected that was - he got a bottle of champagne and £100 cheque.

"I think he is a bit overwhelmed at the moment. He had a really fantastic day.

"He could not believe that many people came to see him, he was a bit choked."

Ray Holmes from Churches factory presented George with a bottle of champagne. Ray once worked with George many years ago when he first started his career.

Ray Holmes from Churches factory presented George with a bottle of champagne. Ray once worked with George many years ago when he first started his career.

George was called up to the Army in 1939 before being deployed to countries including Madagascar, Burma and Palestine with the Northamptonshire Regiment as a private in the 2nd battalion in 1940.

After his six years deployment, he met his Bristol-born wife, Cath in the Vine Inn pub on Abington Street after she moved to the town when the factory she worked at in the West Country was bombed.

The pair, who tied the knot in 1947, enjoyed holidays away to Ramsgate with their in-laws, and George also enjoyed going away fishing with friends and watching the Cobblers.

George, who is uncle to Brian, Liz and Anne, said the trick to a long life is "hard work" and "beer".

Four generations of the family. L-R Neil Smith, George Smith, Brian Smith and Jake Smith.

Four generations of the family. L-R Neil Smith, George Smith, Brian Smith and Jake Smith.

L-R Ann Burrows, Liz Osborne, George Smith, Gary Osborne and Sally Osborne.

L-R Ann Burrows, Liz Osborne, George Smith, Gary Osborne and Sally Osborne.