A lot has changed in Longridge over the past 100 years ... but for Wellington Slater one thing hasn’t changed - it has always been home.
Read more Lancastrians celebrating milestone birthdays in 2018: https://www.lep.co.uk/news/happy-100th-birthday-brenda-stanley-of-leyland-1-8958401
Mr Slater, who has spent his entire life in the town apart from six years spent serving in the RAF during the Second World War, saw in his century last Thursday and his family were quick to pay tribute to his longevity, independence and inspiring life story.
He served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during wartime taking him throughout the world.
Wellington’s son, Graham Slater, said: “My dad’s first job was at the old Longridge Foundry but he later served as an operations planner RAF from 1940 to 1946, based on the English east coast, the Hebrides, Wales, and Africa, where he was part of the North African Campaign in the Second World War, based primarily in Gambia.”
After serving in the RAF, Wellington was a regular Remembrance Day wreath carrier for St Pauls Church in Parlick Avenue, as well as a local committee member for the Royal British Legion and Longridge Co-operative Society.
Regarding the big day, Graham, 64, said: “He didn’t talk about it for a long while but he was nicely looking forward to it.
“We’ve got more family and friends coming to visit the following weekend too – it’s not something that happens every day!”
Now living at Longridge Hall care home, Wellington himself was surprised by staff on the day, who along with Graham and friends, presented him with gifts and a special cake to mark the occasion.
Home Manager at Longridge Hall, Tracey Bourne, said: “Wellington is such a bright and sprightly character, and we were delighted to celebrate his 100th birthday with him, what an achievement.
“He is so independent and always amazes us with how capable he is, so it was lovely to see him surrounded by such a large number of friends and family.
“We were not sure if he was going to be a bit overwhelmed by the event, but he really enjoyed it, and it’s moments like these that give us great satisfaction in our jobs.”
As for whether old age slows you down or not, Wellington still enjoys his passions in life on a daily basis – primarily all things sport.
Graham said: “He still follows his sports to this day – football, rugby, cricket, golf, even the likes of speedway – and is always tuned into Sky Sports. He used to play for Longridge Town FC and Longridge Cricket Club in his younger days.”
For Wellington, sport has always held a close place in his heart, going to Wembley in 1937 and 1938 to watch Preston North End in two FA Cup finals.
Celebrations are set to continue over the coming weekend, with Wellington’s son Graham, his two grandchildren Hayley and Lauren and other family and friends making sure the century celebrations aren’t going anywhere just yet.
“We’ve got more family and friends coming to visit the following weekend too,” said Graham. “It’s not something that happens every day!”
As for whether there is a secret behind making it to 100, Wellington has none – suggesting that it may well be something in his family blood.
Graham said: “His family on both his father’s and mother’s sides have lived to a ripe age. He had one cousin who lived to 103, and back in the 19th century he had a set of great-grandparents who were both born around 1800 and both died aged 87. In those days that was quite something!”