100th birthday party for war veteran pilot
A Blackpool Second World War veteran celebrated his 100th birthday.
Great-grandad Florian Kurczewski fled occupied Poland in 1939 at the age of 23 and came to Blackpool, where he joined the British war effort as an RAF pilot.
He served as a guard in Taunton, Somerset, before being transferred to Bramcote in Warwickshire to train bomber command air gunners.
Now he celebrates his 100th birthday with letters of recognition from the Queen and Pope Francis.
A keen sportsman, Florian joined the Alien Boxing Championship Club at Blackpool Tower, where he went up against 180 other fighters from Poland, Canada and other countries. During this time he won six championships, and was appointed official PE instructor for his RAF squadron.
Thanks to his success as a boxer, Florian was able to support his wife, Joyce, and two young daughters Christine and Janina after the war by bringing home money that was thrown into the ring by excited spectators.
Christine said: “He’s a very special man.
“I think it’s quite an achievement to reach 100. I’m very proud of him.
“He’s always been a really good dad and of all the people he has known I’ve never heard anybody say a bad word about him. He’s very much loved.
“He always liked to talk about how he came to England.”
Florian, who lives at Glenroyd Care Home on Whitegate Drive said: “I’m feeling quite good. I was a pilot and came to England during the war. I like England I have made lots of friends here.
“They’ve all been very good to me.”