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100-year-old Jack’s been saying cheers for 75 years
HE has been propping up the same Hampshire bar for an incredible 75 years.
So there was no better place to celebrate the 100th birthday of Jack Henderson, who friends believe could be the nation’s oldest regular.
Jack enjoyed a surprise party with family and friends at the Eastleigh Working Men’s Club – his favourite haunt since before the Second World War.
A Boyatt Wood resident, he has been dropping in for a drink ever since his sister’s husband, who was secretary of the club, invited him to become a member in 1938.
The spritely centenarian revealed that the secret to his long life was “sea air and a drop of whiskey”.
“I used to come here on leave and it’s carried on since then,” he said.
“I’m the oldest member, a full life member. I don’t have to pay any contributions because I’ve been a member so long.”
Born in London, Jack’s family moved down to Eastleigh in 1917 when the railway works opened and his father wanted employment.
Jack left the Eastleigh Derby Road School at 14 and went straight into work doing deliveries for a grocery shop in Southampton Road, but then joined the merchant navy serving aboard ships including the Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic.
As the Great Depression took hold and work slowed, he started at the Eastleigh Railway Works in the timber yard in 1934.
After becoming one of 300 people laid off because of a war scare, he worked for the Pirelli cable works in Eastleigh.
He served for six years during the Second World War in the Royal Army Service Corps as a corporal, which took him to the Orkney Islands, India, Burma and Malaya.
After the war he returned to the merchant navy, which he left in 1976 before working at an Eastleigh bakery.
Jack has been married and divorced, but met Gladys Perkins, who he described as “the love of my life”, and they were together for 35 years until her death seven years ago.
Jack says he was “surprised” to reach 100, but his tip is to enjoy everything in moderation.
He often has a whiskey down at the working men’s club and tries to make it every week on a
“It’s a nice club and the people are nice,” said Jack. “It’s down to earth.”
Gladys’ daughter Sheila Carter, 76, of Boyatt Wood, who regards Jack as a father, said: “He loves coming down here, it’s his little bit of social life. He’s made lots of friends.”
Of him turning 100, she added: “It’s wonderful. I think he’ll go on until he’s 200 let alone 100.
“He’s a perfect gentleman, one from the old school.”
Pauline Monckton, 67, from Eastleigh, has been meeting Jack at the pub at weekends for 12 years.
She said: “It’s marvellous when you think about it. I would say he’s one of the oldest regulars in the UK.”
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