Smiling is the secret for 104 happy years

Mr David HIll is presented with his cake by Talisa Challis, home manager for his 104th Birthday. Dovecote View residential home in Westhampnett SUS-140828-172428003
Mr David HIll is presented with his cake by Talisa Challis, home manager for his 104th Birthday. Dovecote View residential home in Westhampnett SUS-140828-172428003

KEEP smiling was one former farm worker’s tip for a long and happy life as he celebrated a remarkable milestone.

David Hill was joined by family and friends as he turned 104 on August 26.

Asked his secret, Mr Hill said: “Keep smiling and enjoy it, it’s the only thing you can do.”

Now a resident at Dovecote View residential home in Westhampnett, Mr Hill spent most of his life in Graffham where he enjoyed the great outdoors, both at work and in his spare time.

Martin Grant, Mr Hill’s son-in-law, said: “He started by working in a farm garden and went on to be a foreman. He was about when they changed from horses to tractors.”

Mr Hill said: “I think I have done everything on the farm, there wasn’t much I didn’t like. I started there at 14 and finished at 68. It was a great life really, getting up to mischief.”

Aside from Mr Hill’s wife Ada, who passed away in 2000, his beloved companion was a pet labrador.

“I used to walk to Chichester, it was the old dog and me that used to go out, I think walking is one of the greatest things in the world,” he said.

“I love my sport as well. Football and cricket and tennis. I used watch it all, now I just listen to it all.”

Admitting he had seen many changes over the years, mostly in regard to technology and lifestyle, Mr Hill said: We used to use our brains and we used to use our legs.”

As one of ten siblings, Mr Hill has fond memories of his youth.

“I was the tenth. There were five boys and five girls, mum did it properly.

“I had a dear old mum and dad, they were great to me and I owe a lot to them. I never wanted for much. I mustn’t grumble, I moan instead.”

Dovecoat resident and Mr Hill’s friend, Audrey O’Reilly, said: “David often says ‘I am fed up, shall we go for a booze-up?’”

Mr Hill held up his whisky glass and said: “I’m having one now, my dear. It’s a good job I don’t have a birthday every day, I would be worn out.

“I have happy days and I hope it continues.”