CHEERY Stourbridge centenarian Jack Jones raised a glass to celebrate his 105th birthday.
Mr Jones, who worked as a long-distance van driver until he was 78, marked the mammoth milestone today (Tuesday February 12) with a get-together for family and friends at his Short Street home.
Jack, who received a congratulatory card from The Queen acknowledging his big birthday, made national headlines last year when he was left waiting 12 hours for a lift home from A&E at Russells Hall Hospital due to red tape and an overstretched transport service.
Despite the experience, which prompted hospital bosses to lay on another Ambuline service, and his advancing years - Jack said turning 105 didn’t feel “much different” to being 100.
He added: “I’m a little bit slower than I was but I’ve still got my faculties.
“I like listening to the radio and watching the TV, although my eyesight is next to nil.
“But I still like meeting people. I love conversation especially with some of my older friends - and I like to keep up with what’s happening today in the news and with sport. I enjoy most things.”
The keen West Bromwich Albion fan also makes sure to keep up-to-date with his favourite team - and was quick to boast of their 2-0 victory against Liverpool this week.
Nephew Bob Goode, aged 82, from Herefordshire, said he can’t explain his uncle’s longevity, adding: “There’s no history in the family as far as I know.”
And the sprightly centenarian, who nearly died at 16 when an operation to remove his tonsils went wrong, added: “I can’t understand why I’ve lived this long.
“I’ve worked hard all my life - until I was 78, and for 50 years I had a really good marriage.”
Enville-born Jack, who was widowed in 1989, married his sweetheart Winifred at Stourbridge Register Office in 1939 after the couple met at Longbridge.
Winifred worked in the sewing department and Jack helped to build aircraft including the Fairey Battle and Short Stirling - before moving on to Castle Bromwich to work on the Spitfire.
The couple did not have any children but Jack kept himself busy - working as a long-distance commercial van driver until the age of 78.
He also retained a passion for cars, which began in his youth when he worked as a trainee mechanic at Goodwin, Foster and Brown’s, and continued to drive until his licence expired when he turned 96.