Century not out for ‘sweetheart’ Jack

Jack Clayton accepts a birthday card from the Queen given to him by great-grandsons Ronnie and Finlay Clayton.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Jack Clayton accepts a birthday card from the Queen given to him by great-grandsons Ronnie and Finlay Clayton. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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A retired horse and potato worker from Moulton had a 100th birthday party to remember with family, friends and carers at his new home.

Jack Clayton, who celebrates one year as a resident at The Bancroft care home in Long Sutton on Sunday, was treated to a champagne celebration to mark the milestone, including a birthday cake topped with a model tractor.

Married for 72 years to his late wife Lilly and having a son, granddaughter and two great-grandsons, Jack went to school in Moulton Seas End until the age of 12 when he started working horses on the land.

Jack then went on to work for a potato merchants in South Holland, earning “half a crown and board”, according to his son Martin Clayton (66) of Moulton Seas End.

Martin said: “My dad is a bit quiet and just sits there, taking it all in.

“But the birthday party was brilliant, it was far more than we expected and they really looked after dad at The Bancroft.

“They really celebrated his 100th birthday and there was so much food that when we left, we were wondering what they were going to do with it.”

Jack was born in the same year as comedians Arthur Lowe (from the TV series Dad’s Army) and Sir Norman Wisdom, as well as England footballing legend Sir Stanley Matthews.

It was also the year of the first-ever WI meeting in Anglesey, North Wales, British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith formed a coalition government, George V was on the throne and crime novel The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan was first published.

Debra Richardson, owner and manager of The Bancroft, said: “Jack has been with us since August 9, 2014 and this is his part of the world.

“He lost his wife Lill in December 2014 but before that, they used to go on bus trips to all parts of the country for holidays.

“Jack likes his food and cups of tea, he taps his feet when country music is playing and he used to love gardening when he was younger.

“His birthday party was a beautiful day which he spent out on our veranda overlooking the front garden where we had music playing, sparkling champagne and a cake with a model tractor on it.

“Jack is a real gentleman, lovely, kind and wonderful.

“He’s very happy here, relaxed, easy-going, up for everything and one of the family.

“Thanks must go to our catering staff who made such a fantastic meal for Jack who’s an absolute sweetheart.”