A family has scored a double century after a retired teacher celebrated his 100th birthday.
Arthur Morris, who was born and bred on Merseyside but later settled happily in Wrexham, is following in the remarkable footsteps of his late father who lived to be 104.
The father of five credited his deep faith as being the secret to his longevity – that and always keeping active and interested in others.
Youngest daughter Ruth Morris said he is a strong family man with 17 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren scattered around the UK.
She said the whole family are thrilled to have a second centenarian in their lineage.
“Our grandfather, dad’s dad, lived to be 104 and a half. We never forget the half!” she laughed. “He was Walter Morris who worked as a nautical engineer with Cunard and was at sea for many years. He was born in January 1893 and died in August 1997.
“It’s fantastic that dad has also reached such a grand age.”
Colourful balloons and birthday banners festooned Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn care home, Wrexham, where Arthur has been living since May this year.
A prized birthday card from the Queen bearing her smiling photograph on the front was among a bumper mailbox full of good wishes he received.
He also received a framed letter from the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry Featherstonehaugh, who congratulated him on his 100th birthday and past career, saying: “You have achieved so much in your long life, achievements to be truly proud of.”
Arthur enjoyed a joyful week surrounded by loving family and friends in the run up to his much anticipated big day.
He was born on August 28, 1922, to Walter and his wife Christina Morris in Birkenhead.
He grew up in Merseyside, attending Woodside Elementary School and Birkenhead Park High School for boys. He passed his school certificate aged 16 and civil service exam, aged 17, in 1939. But then the Second World War erupted.
On March 17, 1941, the day of a heavy German air raid on Liverpool, Arthur enlisted with the RAF, with whom he trained to be an armourer, servicing guns on Blenheim aircraft.
He was posted to St Athan RAF camp in the Vale of Glamorgan where he met, fell in love and after three months married young nurse, Bette.
In 1943 Arthur was posted to Takoradi on the Gold Coast – now Ghana – and while abroad his first son, Philip, was born.
The couple went on to have four more children – two sons and three daughters in all.
His daughter, Elisabeth Davies, who lives in Wrexham, said until very recently their father was always on the go, joining in community activities right into his late nineties.
She said: “Even last year at the age of 99 he was still living a full and independent life, making friends wherever he went. He is known for his kind nature and generous spirit. He has always been guided by his faith which is very important to him and he is a loyal member of the Bradley Road Baptist Church, Wrexham, where he regularly played the piano and organ. Music has always been a big part of his life.”
Elisabeth’s friends at a craft club she attends in Bradley made a special birthday card adorned with musical notes.
Arthur came to live near Elisabeth after retiring from his job as a teacher.
On leaving the RAF after the war he was employed in industry for a spell but soon discovered his real passion was for education and so he re-trained as a teacher in the 1960s. He went on to teach at Vaughan Road Junior School, near New Brighton, Wirral, until his retirement in 1982.
It was then that he and Bette moved to Wrexham but Arthur’s beloved wife sadly died in 1984.
Arthur’s faith pulled him through and he lived a busy life making many good friends locally.
Elisabeth said: “Dad has a deep Christian faith and has put his musical abilities and piano playing skills to great use in churches he has attended over the years. He’s also passed on his musical talent to several of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”
Gwern Alyn manager Cindy Cluttonsaid they were all thrilled to be celebrating Arthur’s amazing 100 years.
She said: “He is a lovely man, a real gentleman with a thoughtful nature, and a wonderful smile.”
Cindy and fellow staff helped arrange a small party for Arthur including a 100th birthday cake with candles which Arthur delighted in blowing out.
He said: “Everyone has been so kind. I have had a lovely day.”
Elisabeth said: “Everyone at the home has been so welcoming ever since dad came to live here. For his birthday we decided to visit in small groups over a few days, grandchildren one day, friends another, so that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming for dad. The staff have been wonderful about it and we all thank them enormously for helping to make his whole birthday week extra special.”