WW2 veteran Harry Hill celebrates 100th birthday in lockdown

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Harry Hill
Image caption,
Harry Hill wanted to have a garden party

A World War Two veteran has been treated to a socially-distanced 100th birthday celebration that included a visit from his 98-year-old sister.

Harry Hill from Bolton-le-Sands was set to hold a garden party for his birthday on Tuesday but it was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Friends and neighbours decorated Mr Hill's front garden with flags and sang Happy Birthday to him outside his home.

He said: "I never expected anything like this for my 100th birthday.

"It is absolutely astonishing."

Image caption,
People who lived nearby held a socially distanced celebration for Mr Hill

His sister Josie travelled by taxi from her home in Morecambe, about four miles away, to see him on his special day, though maintaining the recommended 2m (6ft) distance between them.

"Talk about amazing grace", Mr Hill said.

War veteran Harry Hill has been celebrating his 100th birthday. Friends and neighbours in Bolton-le-Sands made sure his big day wasn't forgotten by tidying up his garden and applauding from a safe distance. 🎈🎂🕯️🎁

Posted by BBC North West on Tuesday, May 12, 2020
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The celebration was organised by friends at his local church.

Rev Nancy Goodrich, from Holy Trinity Church said: "He's been waiting years for this - the fact the community turned out means the world to him."

Image source, Huw Evans picture agency
Image caption,
There was also a tribute from a representative of the RAF which Harry served with in the Second World War

Cumbrian-born Mr Hill said he had always been a fitness fanatic and continued his daily exercise during lockdown on a walking machine and cross trainer at home.

He also swears by a vitamin rich diet and says regular intakes of grape seed oil, olive and linseed oil are the secret to long life.

At 19 Mr Hill entered service with the RAF as an anti-aircraft gunner during the Second World War and was in Berlin when the war ended in 1945.

After the war Mr Hill set up an agricultural supplies firm selling animal food supplements to farmers and later became a self defence and fitness instructor.

Rosina, his wife of 73 years, died in 2014.

Image caption,
Mr Hill's sister Josie, 98, made a four-mile journey by taxi to greet her brother