Friday, 4 November 2011

Britain's oldest man celebrates 109th birthday

Reg Dean, from Wirksworth in Derbyshire, plans to mark the occasion at home with friends and family after throwing a party for members of the choir he founded nearly 25 years ago.
Born in 1902, Mr Dean has lived through two world wars, 24 British prime ministers and a host of social and cultural changes that have transformed life in the UK.
He has held the unofficial title of 'the oldest man in Britain' since the death of Stanley Lucas, from Cornwall, who died aged 110 in June last year.
The Derbyshire man said he was "very happy" and was already counting down the days to his 110th birthday.
"I don't want to be anything else, other than 110 and 111," he told the Derby Telegraph.
"I'm sure I'll be 112 because I'm in very good health."
Asked what his plans were for the year ahead, Mr Dean said: "I'm hoping to keep my friends. You find they gradually die off."
Mr Dean was born on November 4, 1902, in Tunstall, Staffordshire. He became a minister and worked as an army chaplain during World War Two, when he was stationed in Burma.
After the war, he returned to England to live in Stratford-Upon-Avon before settling in Derby in 1947.
In 1958, Mr Dean worked as a teacher at the Herbert Strutt School in Belper for 10 years. He continued to serve as a minister until his retirement at the age of 80.
The 109-year-old, who has been married three times, helped found the Dalesmen Male Voice Choir in the late 1980s.
He still attends weekly rehearsals and was made life president of the choir for his dedication. Earlier this week, Mr Dean celebrated his birthday over a meal with 125 local choir members.
John England, chairman of the choir, said Mr Dean's friends were already planning the celebrations for next year.
"He hardly ever misses a rehearsal and it's a pleasure to have him," he told the BBC.
"He always comes along with a few anecdotes, criticisms and witticisms."
Mr Dean said he intended to spend today's celebrations with his son, Chris, two grandchildren and other family members.
At 109, he is still five years away from being named the world's oldest man. The title is held by 114-year-old Jiroemon Kimura from Japan.

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