Mayor and Mayoress call in to celebrate centurion Walter’s birthday
The Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Councillors Dave and Jeanette Banks joined in the celebrations as Age UK hosted a surprise party at the Mansion House to celebrate the monumental milestone of one of its service users.
Walter Davies Pritchard, who has been attending Age UK’s weekly Positive Living Group for around 10 years, turned 100 last Wednesday ( 14 September).
As part of the celebrations, Walter, a former musician, and his fellow group members were entertained by the St Helens U3A Ukulele Group and the smooth vocals of entertainer Mike Massey, before enjoying a delicious afternoon tea.
But perhaps the biggest treat of all for Walter was a visit from his daughter Susan and son-in-law Robert who made the trip all the way from America to visit him on his special day.
Born in a small terraced house at 8 William Street, Prescot, Walter went onto attend Beckingfield Street Nursery School, followed by the Board School on Warrington Road, and then the Central School on Delph Lane at the age of 11.
At 14, he started work at Whiston Cooperative Society, delivering milk in a hand cart from 7:00am until he’d finished his round, before joining the Cooperative as a shop assistant at the age of 17.
At 18 he met the love of his life Audrey Boardman. They married on December 21, 1939 during an air raid on Liverpool.
During World War II, Walter worked as a Dispatch Rider for the The Royal Signals before becoming an electrician for the Army after studying at Bradford Technical College. He repaired transmission sets and phones for the Royal Signals.
After the war, Walter was then taken to Athens, Greece, where he was a part of the First Army to settle the Civil War. He then returned to England by sailing from Greece to Italy, and then caught a train to France before sailing home to England, where he settled back in Prescot.
Following his return from the war, he was a member of The Savannah Band. He took over leadership of the band in 1950.
Walter became a freelance musician playing tenor saxophone, piano and organ. He travelled throughout the North West taking his Hammond Organ with him and playing in various clubs for many, many years.
He then went onto work at British Insulated Calendar Cables (BICC) in the Power Cables division where he worked right up until his retirement in 1972.
During retirement, Walter continued as a freelance musician. He was also an avid golfer and a wonderful gardener.
When asked about the key to living a long and healthy life, Walter replied:
“Stay out of trouble, eat well – but above all else, be happy.”