Is Jack the oldest man from Thorney?

Jack Gee 100

Jack Gee, who is believed to be the oldest man born in Thorney, celebrated his 100th birthday on April 17.

He was able to enjoy the company of five generations of his family, with ages ranging from 100 years to two years old.

His daughter Marguerite Light says he is hale and hearty and enjoys life. He was given a copy of the book Thorney in Focus for his birthday and he has been engrossed in it, taking great pleasure in pointing out familiar places to his family and recounting tales about the place he still refers to as home.

Marguerite says she has offered to bring him back for a look round and he would love to come, but it’s really too long a journey for him to make from his home in Dorset.

Jack was born in Thorney and lived on English Road where his father worked as a farm manager. The family lived in Elder House, which is now Thorney Lakes Golf Club.

He left school at 14 and worked in a cycle shop in the village repairing cycles and making cycle wheels and then worked in Peterborough, also on cycle repairs.

When he was 18, he decided to try for the RAF and went to London with a friend to sit an exam. He passed and was told to report to Uxbridge the next day, so he never returned home.

In the RAF, he served in Scotland, Northern Ireland, North Africa, Egypt and Cyprus. His job was an engineer, but he flew regularly. One of his first postings was to Moreton in Dorset, where he met and married his wife. It was a whirlwind romance; they wed within three months and remained married for 74 years.

After the Second World War, Jack returned to Upway in Dorset and worked as a market gardener with his father-in-law. Later, he converted the market garden into a watercress farm.

He has two daughters, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Jack wrote a book called The Fenman about his early life and there’s a copy of it in Thorney Heritage Museum.

We don’t know for sure whether Jack is the oldest surviving son (or daughter) of Thorney. If you know of anyone older (living or dead), we’d love to hear from you.

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