A glass of bitter and an onion helps Rushden man reach his centenary

Reuben Shepherd has just turned 100
Reuben Shepherd has just turned 100

A centenarian has said a glass of bitter each day and an onion with his evening meal has helped him reach the age of 100.

Reuben Shepherd has just celebrated his 100th birthday and enjoyed a huge birthday bash at the residents lounge of Crispian Court, Rushden.

The room was filled with friends, well-wishers and family, including two daughters, four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren with a third on the way.

Spire Homes, which owns Crispian Court, provided a birthday cake for the party to help his family and friends celebrate the milestone.

When asked what the secret to living to 100 was, Reuben said: “Well, I like to think I’ve reached 100 because I have a glass of John Smith’s each day and try to get an onion into each of my evening meals throughout the week.”

After serving in the Second World War as a driver in Italy and North Africa, Reuben settled down in Irchester.

His working life began in a pie factory, but he soon moved on to shoe production and contributed to Northamptonshire’s booming industry.

He says his active lifestyle has also helped keep him fit.

He said: “Me and my wife Freda used to love bike riding.

“We managed the trip from Irchester to Great Yarmouth a few times – there wasn’t the same amount of traffic as there is now so biking was quite easy.

“We once went as far as Margate – but only the once.

“It was quite a long journey and as we got a bit lost along the way it took even longer to get home.”

Reuben met Freda at a club in 1935.

When one of her friends told Reuben it was Freda’s 15th birthday, he bought her a card as a token of his affection.

The couple married in 1940 and were married until Freda sadly died eight years ago.

Still a social character, Reuben continues to go to the local over-60s club, enjoys a game of whist and is partial to a pint with his Sunday roast.

Tracey, one of his grand-daughters, said: “Grandad’s still a big partier, age doesn’t mean a thing.”

Claire, another grand-daughter, said: “He still loves a good sing song and dance and isn’t afraid to join in.”

Reuben’s birthday was on March 18.