IT’S official. Percy Purkiss has clocked up an amazing 100 years as a Saints supporter.
After going to his first match as a seven-year-old, Percy has now celebrated his 107th birthday, making him probably the club’s longest serving fan.
Although he has not been to see his beloved side since he was 99, Percy still follows the goings-on at St Mary’s thanks to the Daily Echo.
Percy was born the year of the first aeroplane flight in Europe and the opening of the first cinema.
The great-grandfather-of-three celebrated the milestone on Sunday with family at his home in Copythorne.
Percy said “being looked after well and keeping active” was his secret to long life.
However, the Saints supporter always has a glass of hock, a sweet German white wine, before he goes to bed.
Born in 1906, the youngest of 11 children, Percy was raised in Cadnam and has lived in the area all his life. He went to Copythorne School and played cricket and football for Cadnam.
He married Wilmer, from nearby Winsor, in 1930 and they were together until her death in 2006 – they had two children and rented the same house in Winsor for 72 years.
Percy, who has four grandchildren, worked for Hughes convenience store in Cadnam as a delivery worker, first on a bike then in a van, until the Second World War.
During the war, he served for five years in the Royal Army Service Corps in Egypt and Italy.
He later returned to work at Hughes, then went on to drive lorries for building firm AA Morgan and Hampshire County Council.
In retirement, he was a part-time gardener at Bartley School. Percy received a card from the Queen and a telegram from Work and Pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith, while his granddaughter Lisa Stewart made him a cake with a photograph of him on it.
Long life runs in the family – Percy’s sister Florence lived to 104.
Percy’s son Ron, 81, said: “It’s great, he’s been a good father. I’m proud of him.”