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102nd birthday for Beccles man

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:44 06 July 2010

THE sunshine and romance of Venice will brighten up the Waveney Valley winter as a Beccles man celebrates his 102nd birthday along with the dawning of a new decade.

THE sunshine and romance of Venice will brighten up the Waveney Valley winter as a Beccles man celebrates his 102nd birthday along with the dawning of a new decade.

Frank Ward, Beccles born and bred, will reach the landmark age on Saturday - and there's a continental twist to the festivities.

He and his late wife Lily used to love travelling, particularly to Italy.And so staff, family and friends at the White House care home in Ashman's Road will be throwing him an Italian-themed party - complete with goodies delivered on a gondola.

Mr Ward was born in 1908 in Fairclough Road, Beccles, on one of the coldest days his mother could remember. He had six brothers and sisters.

During his life he worked as an engineer for Elliott and

Garrood, and then later as a signalling and light specialist for

British Rail.

He worked on the railways in the UK during both world wars, ensuring that the armed forces were able to move supplies

and equipment easily, often at night.

He loved to travel, and took an annual holiday with his wife. Mr Ward met Lily in Beccles and married her in 1934. They moved to a house in Kilbrack Road, before moving to Durban Road, Lowestoft. They stayed in Lowestoft for 60 years.

Lily, who was a champion swimmer in her time, died in 2003.

Mr Ward said he never thought he would live to such a grand old age - though he pointed out that his mother was 100 when she died and wondered if it was in the genes.

He said he was quite content, despite missing his wife terribly.

Heather Burton, his niece,

said: “Frank is a true adventurer at heart and enjoyed travelling regularly, particularly to Italy.

“This is why we are celebrating his birthday in true Italian style, delivering his food on a gondola and baking an Italian flag- designed cake.”

Mr Ward has lived at The White House for the past six years. Manager Terry Mason said this week: “Congratulations to Frank for reaching this incredible milestone.”

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