‘Lucky’ Sidmouth centenarian reflects on a lifetime of travels

Holmesley resident Peter Griffiths celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday. Ref shs 10-16SH 7243.

Holmesley resident Peter Griffiths celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday. Ref shs 10-16SH 7243. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

‘ I have had plenty of mishaps along the way’ - Peter Griffiths

A 100-year-old who travelled the world as a government engineer says he has enjoyed his fair share of luck as he celebrates his landmark birthday.

Peter Griffiths marked the occasion at Holmesley Nursing Home, in Fortescue Road, surrounded by friends and four generations of his family.

Cockney born and bred, Peter has fond memories of visiting Sidmouth as a young child and playing on the beach with his seven older brothers and sisters.

He started out as an office boy in London, before going on to work as a government engineer. With his birthday letter from the Queen mounted on the wall, Peter proudly recalls having met the monarch twice before.

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“I met the Queen when I was very young and her father George VI came to lay the foundation step of my school,” he said.

“Years later, the Queen and Prince Philip came out to open one of the new embassies in Africa and I was introduced to her as the engineer in charge.

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“I liked to travel and I always travelled at Her Majesty’s expense. I went twice around the world, including a long spell in Africa, the Far East, China and Hong Kong.

“I met some interesting people abroad. It was a very nice job. I got to move around and of course you get to go to places other people cannot go.

“I have had plenty of mishaps along the way – air crashes and things where others would have been killed and I came out of it alive. I’m just lucky.”

On his 100th birthday, the centenarian said there is no secret to a long life other than to ‘just keep going’.

He added that his birthday party ‘could not have been better’ and expressed delight at the scores of cards he received and two special cakes – one a tribute to his passion for gardening.

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