Veteran Jack’s still a hero at 100 writes Andy Mitchell

As good new stories go, you’d have to go some way to find one that matched a wonderful birthday celebration in Blackpool last week.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Remembrance Sunday

I was thrilled to get to meet, and interview Jack Rhodes of North Shore, who is celebrating his 100th birthday.

Jack comes across as a man 30 years his junior, and enthusiastically showed me into his living room where he settled down to tell me his life story.

It seems Jack’s secret to a long life is “Yorkshire pudding with thick gravy!” He told me how he was born in the white rose county (but we forgave him for that bit!)

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This proud Yorkshireman had served in the RAF during the war, joining up at the tender age of 18, a move which he said upset his mother. “ I did six years in the service” he told me, “but mother was worried, and you should never upset your mother”. Wise words indeed from this young airman.

Jack completed his service and told me that he grew up in the pub trade. Although he didn’t have a taste for beer, he informed me a small glass of dry white wine has done him the world of good over the last century.

Jack’s family gathered at his bungalow in North Shore, and a constant stream of friends and well wishers called in for a brew and an RAF themed cup cake!

I did a five-minute interview with Jack which went out on the radio on Friday afternoon.

It was an absolute joy to meet this wonderful man, and it reminded me that in this week of Remembrance Sunday, we can all pay tribute to every serviceman and woman who bravely fought in the war.

Jack was just a teenager when he joined up in 1939... he’s still a hero today.

Maybe we should all be putting our faith in Yorkshire pudding and thick gravy for a full life! I commented to Jack that he’s made it to the big 100 a full year before the BBC was due to celebrate its centenary.

“I’m pleased about that” he remarked…. “There’s not many beat the BBC!” What a Gent!

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