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Happy 107th birthday Frank!

Britain’s 16th oldest man, Sanctuary Care resident Frank Chester, has celebrated his 107th birthday at Hastings Residential Care Home in Malvern.  


Born and raised in Ludlow, Shropshire, Frank started work at 17 years of age in HM Customs and Excise in London before he was called up to serve for his country during World War II.   


During his deployment, Frank trained as a Royal Naval Officer and was later promoted to First Lieutenant Officer aboard HMS Honeysuckle.


When he signed up for the Navy, Frank imagined spending his days on “a cruiser in a warmer climate” but instead, ended up on a “rusty, old ship that needed painting in Liverpool”. 


His journey in the Royal Navy took him all over the world. He recalls a standout World War II mission, which saw his ship attacked by German planes as they escorted two submarines which had to come above the surface of the water off the Norwegian coast.


Frank said: “When we saw the German aircraft, we knew it was coming for us. I knew they were going to bomb us. I could hear a knocking sound but quickly realised it was my knees knocking together!”


After the war, Frank moved to Walsall where he met his wife-to-be, actress Lily. The proud father and now Great-grandfather, Frank recalls: “Six weeks later we decided we were going to spend the rest of our lives together – Lily was the best thing that happened to me.”


According to Frank, the secret to his longevity is his faith, coupled with “sitting down whilst putting my trousers on” – ensuring he does not fall over. Frank added: “The Lord has been very kind to me every day – I say my prayers every morning and thank him that he has given me another day.”


Shelly Ford, Home Manager commented: “Frank is a fantastic gentleman, who has lived an incredibly inspiring life. He has so many great stories to share. We were thrilled to celebrate his milestone birthday with him. 


“Our team at Hasting Residential Care Home often feels more like a family, and like any family, we do everything we can to enrich our residents’ lives and make them smile. Taking time to celebrate important milestones and big birthdays is just one way that we can ensure our residents feel happy and fulfilled whilst living in our home.”

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