A man celebrated his 100th birthday with a glass of whisky and a slice of cake as he looks forward to a big celebration at the weekend to mark the occasion.
Sat with his medals in hand, Tom Paxton explained his long life which, for the most part, he spent in Powburn.
Tom was born 100 years ago yesterday, and looks back at a long life where he started his working life sweeping out toilets for a shilling a week, claiming he had one of the better jobs.
Tom was born near Ayton in the Scottish Borders and when he was just a fortnight old, moved to Ford Hill with is mother, father and two sisters.
Tom said: “Before the Second World War, you couldn’t get a job around here so I applied for a job driving an old lady in a Rolls-Royce and I was down in Ross-on-Wye, in Herefordshire, for three years.”
When the war broke out, Tom had to go to Worcester to enlist and was in the RAF until 1946.
Tom proudly has a Burma Star medal in his collection, which is awarded specifically to those who served in the Burma campaign from 1941 to 1945.
After the war, Tom settled down and married his wife Elizabeth, who turns 91 next week, at Ilderton Church in 1948.
Tom and Elizabeth then moved to Powburn where they spent the majority of their life and Tom spent 40 years at Swarland Brickyards.
“I want the public to know how hard times were when I was brought up. At Bolton, we had a lot of ponies and the vet used to come when the kids had scabby lips, instead of the doctor.
“A lot of the houses had a bed in the kitchen because things were that bad. There were big families, five,six, and seven was the norm.
“The nurses went around on bikes and they had to be paid.”
Tom and his friends came together to hold a fund-raising event for the nurses at Broome Park in the early 1940s, this was in the time before the NHS was established and no publicly-funded health service existed.
The event was a mock 18th-century wedding and Tom was the bridegroom.
In 2006, Tom and Elizabeth moved into Percy Court, Alnwick, and have been there ever since.
Elizabeth said that Tom continued to drive right up until he was 94.
As Tom, Elizabeth, their son, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren look forwards, they’re excited for a special reunion of friends and family at their home in Percy Court at the weekend.