CELEBRATIONS were had and fond memories were shared as an ‘amazing’ Creswell man celebrated his 100th birthday and looked back on a remarkable life.
Ernest Leadbeater turned 100-years-old on Tuesday 29th May.
Now living at Holly Bank Nursing Home, Ernest has lived through two World Wars, 25 Olympic Games and was 40-years-old when Queen Elizabeth II took to the throne.
As the nation is gripped by Jubilee fever, this week saw Ernest opening up a special birthday card and telegram from the Queen herself, wishing him a happy 100th birthday.
Formerly an accountant from Sheffield, Ernest has lived in Creswell for over 40 years - earning a reputation as ‘a real character’.
“It’s great to be here for his 100th birthday,” said his grandson David Leadbeater, 45, from York. “He’s a real fighter - it’s unbelievable really.”
“He has led such an interesting and active lifestyle. He loved going to the Lakes and National Trust sites and even went on a cycling holiday down the River Rhine in Germany just before Hitler came to power.”
During World War Two, Ernest worked with barrage balloon for the armed forces.
“Granddad always came out with some good little anecdotes because he’s seen so many of the big historical events - he’s had an interesting life and a really cheeky sense of humour,” said David. “He was always full of innuendo - it was like a Carry On film!”
Another thing that Ernest became known for was his pet parrot Polly - who he inherited from his father and also lived to be over 100.
David continued: “It was hilarious - he was always swearing at the parrot then the parrot would swear back in a Yorkshire accent! He was always shouting ‘I’m going to kill that bloody bird’.”
“He’s always been very detailed and meticulous too, with a very sharp mind.”
David added: “He’s a great man and a loving grandfather and great-grandfather and we’d like to wish him a happy birthday with many more good years to come.”
Creswell resident Brian Betts used to live opposite Ernest for over 40 years.
“You couldn’t wish for a more perfect gentleman or a better neighbour,” said Brian. “His parrot with a Yorkshire accent was hilarious.”
“We had some great times with Ernest. We met up for his 90th birthday ten years ago and he never thought he’d make it to see 100 - but he’s just such a strong character. He’s always so jolly.”
Matron of the Holly Bank Nursing Home, Margaret Dibb, said that it was a pleasure to have Ernest as a resident.
“This is a very exciting day,” she said. “We’ve all really been looking to it, as 100 years is quite an achievement.”
“Ernest is a lovely resident and we love having him here. He’s got spirit and can be really fiesty and lively - he’s a real character.”
She continued: “He does like attention from women and is a real ladies’ man.”
“We all have a soft spot for him and would like to wish him a very happy birthday.”