Remarkable life of Harold (100)

SPECIAL MAN: Mr Harold Beckett who has celebrated his 100th birthday
SPECIAL MAN: Mr Harold Beckett who has celebrated his 100th birthday

A remarkable Padiham man, who has celebrated his 100th birthday, still has plenty of advice for his family.

Great-grandfather Mr Harold Beckett reached his milestone birthday on Thursday, at his house in Field Street which he has called home since 1952.

He became well-known in Padiham for his long association with the Scouts, starting when he was a young boy as a mascot with St Leonard’s Scout Group where he later became a leader.

Mr Beckett grew up as one of 13 children sharing a two-up two-down house in Padiham.

Although he passed for Burnley Grammar School, his father said the family could not afford for him to attend and he so he found his first job at 14 at a weaving mill in Wyre Street.

Harold said: “I worked there for a year before working as a teaboy at Church Clough Reservoir which was being expanded at the time.

“I then worked as a weaver and tackler at various mills before retiring as an under-manager at Jubilee Mill in Shakespeare Street.

“During the war I served with the RAF where I was asked if I’d like to be a cook. I think it was a good decision. I enjoyed my time in the RAF and served in Egypt, Iraq and India.”

Harold married his sweetheart Jessie Leigh in 1936 and the couple had two children, Linda and Joyce, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Linda said: “Dad is a very kind man who still gives us all advice. He has been a brilliant cook and can still fry an egg for himself.

“He used to have an allotment but still likes to potter in the garden and listen to local radio. He also enjoys a cherry brandy at the weekend!”

Harold revealed that his secret to long life was plenty of home grown vegetables and fresh air.

He added: “I really enjoyed camping and cooking on an open fire with the Scouts. We used to go over Black Hill and had some great days out.

“I also played big bass drum with the Scouts and organised the Whit Monday parades.

“I would recommend the Scouts to any young people, it’s good to be outdoors in the fresh air.”

Harold received a visit from the Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Andy Tatchell, who wished him happy birthday.