Rugbeians with some years behind them might think they've seen a thing or two - but yesterday a Warwickshire man born a year after the Titanic foundered and a year before the outbreak of the First World War celebrated his 108th birthday.
John Farringdon was born in Enfield (London) on June 7, 1913 - making him just four years younger than Saturnino de la Fuente García of Spain, the oldest living man in the world at a spritely 112.
When he was he 16 got a job in Upper Thames Street as an apprentice repairing typewriters, he travelled all over London repairing typewriters ultimately getting a job at Ford in Dagenham, Essex 1934 -1942 as a resident typewriter mechanic.
In 1942 Ford offered John a job in Leamington Spa making tank tracker equipment for the Army, so John moved to Leamington in 1942 and continued to work at Ford Motor Company for 40 years before coming to the Cubbington Mill care home, where he is enjoying a new chapter of his life.
John was joined by staff, relatives, friends and other residents as he received a telegram from the Queen in recognition of his landmark birthday.
A champagne reception was held at the home and guests enjoyed a special birthday cake made by the home’s chef, Oliver Hopkins.
As restrictions have lifted further, John’s family and friends were able join him in the homes gardens and celebrate after adhering to the full Covid safety protocols.
On Saturday 6th June, local vintage car collectors from Wolston Classic Car Club and Coventry Classic Car Club came to visit with their Fords.
Among the classics was a car from John's youth - a 1915 Model T Ford.
Jong enjoyed sitting in the Model T - and a spokesperson for the care home believes this is the first time someone has sat in a car that old and been able to say, 'I was born before that was made'.
Among the cars residents enjoyed a performance from vintage singer Celine Rose - who sang some of John’s favourite 1940s songs.
One car collector said: “I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to lots of the residents who came out to help celebrate John’s birthday, I will probably never meet anyone so old again, just incredible.
"A day I will never forget."
Staff, residents and the car collectors sang John a happy birthday and he gave a wonderful thank-you speech.
John said “Thank you all for making my birthday so special, I love you all.”
On Monday, June 7, John had a special visit from the Ford training centre team who are showcased their brand new Ford Mustang Mac-E.
The home will held a champagne reception for John and his friends to enjoy alongside a platter of treats and delicious birthday cake prepared by the homes head chef Oliver Hopkins.
Residents from Barchester’s Overslade Care Home in Rugby travelled and joined other residents in the gardens to celebrate John’s landmark birthday with him.
John learnt all about the new Mac-E and said: “It is brilliant how far technology has come from the cars of my day that I saw yesterday."
Dimpho Kavanagh, general manager of Barchester Cubbington Mill said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating a truly remarkable man as he reaches this amazing milestone.
"John is such a popular resident who always has an interesting tale to tell, both staff and residents feel honoured to know John and call him a friend.”