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Tuesday, June 15, 1999 Published at 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK


Britain's oldest man enjoys birthday fry-up

Harry Halford: Record-breaker

Britain's oldest man has celebrated his 108th birthday - with a fry-up.

Harry Halford starts every day with a cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs, and his birthday on Tuesday was no exception.

He says his breakfast habit is the secret of his long life, which he marked with a gathering of family and friends.

Mr Halford was born in Belgrave, Leicester, on 15 June 1891, and was certified as the oldest man in Britain by the Guinness Book of Records earlier this year.

Military honour

After leaving school at 14, he started work as an apprentice tailor's cutter at the Hart and Levy factory in Leicester.

[ image: Is a daily fry-up the secret to a long life?]
Is a daily fry-up the secret to a long life?
When World War I broke out in 1914, Mr Halford volunteered for the 49th (London) Division of the Royal Artillery and was posted to France.

He fought as a gunner in the battle of the Somme, and at Ypres, and in February this year was presented with France's highest military honour - the order of the Legion D'Honneur - for his services to French people during the war.

Mr Halford lived alone in Aylestone, Leicester, until he reached the age of 100, when he moved in with his daughter Pauline Gays for six years.

He now lives at the Harley House Nursing Home in Stoneygate, Leicester.

Mrs Gays, 73, said: "For a man of his age, he's not doing too badly. There's nothing seriously wrong with him and he's still got his faculties."

She said her father kept saying that his fried breakfasts were the secret of his longevity.

Chocolate and grapes

"As long as he has his eggs and bacon first thing in the morning he's all right for the day.

"He also likes plenty of chocolate. My husband visits him every day and takes him chocolate and grapes."

Mrs Gays's birthday present to Mr Halford was a new pair of slippers, and chocolate.

He also received one of the first new-style cards from the Queen instead of a telegram.

Mr Halford has a granddaughter and two great-grandchildren.

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