100th birthday celebrations for Paternoster resident
Ernest Nightingale has celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at Paternoster House in Cirencester.
Ernie, who enjoyed two parties at the OSJCT home and also received a birthday greeting from the Queen, said the secret to his long life was “contentment, a bit of luck and proper food!”
Born in Canada, Ernie moved to England with his family when he was 17 and got a job as an aircraft fitter at the Gatwick Aerodrome. A few years later he was posted to Kemble Air Base as an air frame fitter with Fleet Air Arm. This was when he met Jean, the daughter of the family he was lodging with in Cirencester, who he married in 1942. The couple had a daughter Ann, who sadly died earlier this year, and they also adopted twin sisters Sharon and Gislea.
Ernie worked in Cirencester’s telephone exchange and then joined the civil service, working for the Ministry of Pensions in both the Cheltenham and Cirencester offices.
After retiring he became a volunteer with Cirencester Dial-a-Ride and when he turned 80 he bought a mobility scooter which enabled him to visit elderly and infirm people in the town.
When he was in his 80s Ernie also discovered a talent for writing poems, and in recent years he has written his life story.
Ernie, whose wife died in 1991 after almost 50 years of marriage, has eight grandchildren, 18 great grand-children and eight great-great-grandchildren.
Sharon and Gislea described their dad as an incredibly kind and generous man, who was very family-orientated and loved nothing more than helping other people.
They said: “You will always hear him say how lucky he has been throughout his life, but it is actually the people in his life that are the lucky ones for knowing him.”
Home Manager Hannah Forsyth said: “Ernie is such a lovely gentleman, it was a pleasure to make such a fuss of him on his special day. We all really enjoyed learning more about him, and particularly reading his life story and poems, as we celebrated with him and his family on his birthday.”