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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
100-year-old told 'take day off'
Buster Martin blows out the candle of his cake at work
Buster Martin said he went back to work because he was bored
A man has turned up for work despite being told to take the day off for his 100th birthday.

Buster Martin began cleaning vans for Pimlico Plumbers despite retiring as a market worker three years ago.

Colleagues at the firm in Lambeth, south London, threw him a surprise party and were treating him to a tour of Chelsea FC's Stamford Bridge ground.

Mr Martin said the last time he had a party he was in the desert "getting as drunk as a Lord when I was 21".

He said the secret of his longevity could be due to a pint of bitter every day and daily press ups.

If you're active it saves you sitting in a wheelchair
Buster Martin

The centenarian was born in France, but came to England as a baby and grew up in an orphanage in Cornwall until 1916.

Moving to London he got his first job helping stall holders on Brixton market before joining the Army at 15 and served a total of 35 years before joining the Navy.

After taking up a wide range of trades, he finally went full circle and was working at Brixton market until he retired aged 97.

Mr Martin, who married in 1920 and had 17 children with his wife, said he took up working again because he became bored.

"Working keeps me active, that's the main thing. If you're active it saves you sitting in a wheelchair," he said.

Talking about how the world had changed in 100 years he said: "It's a bit too fast... I've never owned a telephone and I never will."

Charlie Mullins, of Pimlico Plumbers, said: "Buster's a lot of fun, he's quite a character who's got a million stories."

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