Wales

Sam Ledward turns 106 after being declared dead in 1936

Sam Ledward is more grateful than most to celebrate his 106th birthday given that he was declared dead 76 years ago.

The former joiner crashed his motorbike in 1936 and says he was in a coma so deep that doctors ordered his body to be taken away.

He was being taken to the mortuary when a hospital porter noticed his "corpse" move and returned him to the ward.

Mr Ledward, of Flintshire, puts his long life down to "sheer luck" - as his fortune all those years ago suggests.

As he celebrated turning 106, he said: "I'll be all right for a while yet. You don't get rid of me like that."

He said: "I was riding on a 500cc Triumph. I hadn't had it more than two months. I bought it off a farmer. One of his sons had come to grief on it.

"I just tuned it up and put a new rear tyre on it. I thought the front tyre would be okay but it wasn't. It bust."

He was thrown into the road and his coma was such that doctors concluded that he had died. So they gave the order for the body to be taken away.

Mr Ledward said: "They put me on a trolley and this chap saw something move and took me back. I came to five days later.

Unconscious for five days

"My first recollection of anything was seeing someone stood round the bed and me knocking something out of someone's hand.

"I had knocked a feeding cup out of a nurse's hand."

Image caption Mr Ledward celebrated his 106th birthday at the weekend

He was carried back to the ward where he stayed unconscious for another five days. His head and face injuries took six months to heal.

"I've had a good life since," he added.

Most days he catches a bus into town with his companion Millie Minshall, 90, the cousin of his late wife, from the house they share in Gwernaffield, near Mold.

Born and brought up in Cheshire, Mr Ledward and his late wife, Edith, lived in Blackpool. Mrs Ledward died in 1993 but not before telling her husband that her cousin would look after him.

He said: "She said 'go to our Millie,' I'm well treated every day.

"We're doing very well. We knock about together. We used to go abroad a lot but I think I'm too ancient for that now.

"But I'm not too bad for an old codger."

Mr Ledward celebrated his 106th birthday last Friday with Mrs Minshall and her daughter's family.

Mrs Minshall said: "He's not bad, not bad at all."