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20th May, 2022

Lifelong Rugbeian celebrates 104th birthday

A CENTENARIAN has reminisced about his long life in Rugby as he celebrated his 104th birthday.

Lifelong Rugbeian George Benson was born in Dale Street in 1917.

He went to school at Wesleyan School in Chapel Street and St Matthew’s School.

George left school at 14 years old, and started work as a mail-sorter at British Thomson-Houston before moving on to work in the Lamp Factory.

He met his sweetheart Lilian when she was 16 and he was 17, and they married four years later. They enjoyed a happy 59 years of marriage together until Lillian sadly passed away.

When he was 18, George took his driving test in Yorkshire and worked as tanker driver for Shell Mex and BP. He moved on to Coventry Radiator as a metal polisher.

He joined the Territorial Army and was called up to serve in the Second World War, joining the Yorkshire and Lancashire regiment as a tanker driver delivering petrol to the air fields.

George remembers all the way back to his days at Wesleyan School, where he and his good friend Harold played conkers and marbles.

He said: “One day we went to the shop in Dale Street before school and bought little cashew sweets. In the afternoon during science class, Harold and I started eating the sweets and were caught by Mr Robinson, the head teacher. Mr Robinson shared the sweets with all the class!

“I remember that the old Marks and Spencer building in town was the Town Hall when I was growing up.

“I enjoyed going to the Regal Cinema in Railway Terrace and the Scala in Henry Street. I used to watch cowboy movies and loved John Wayne. I also remember there was an ice rink opposite the Scala.

“A bugler from the army used to play music in the town centre, and I used to listed to him. I had never heard anything like it in my life!”

Now a resident at The Elms Care Home, George was treated to a rendition of Happy Birthday from the reception children from Clifton-upon-Dunsmore Primary School, who sang to him outside in the garden.

George says the secret ingredient to his long life is no alcohol and plenty of cups of tea.

His advice? “Don’t worry about things, be happy in life.”

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