Page 3 Profile: Reg Dean, Britain's oldest man


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The Independent Culture

He doesn't look a day over 100

He's a day over 110, actually. Born on November 4, 1902, he's lived through two world wars, 21 prime ministers, five monarchs, 28 leap years and the first manned aeroplane flight. He celebrated his birthday in bed yesterday, where he was presented with a cake. To mark his becoming a super-centenarian, the Dalesman Male Voice Choir, which he founded, also sang for him. He's still sharp. When asked how he felt, he said: "A year older than when I was 109!"

When did he take the record?

Mr Dean, from Wirksworth in Derbyshire, became the oldest man in the UK after 110-year-old Stanley Lucas died in 2010. Mr Dean says he's looking forward to another party when he's 130.

What's his secret?

Being lazy, he says, although his strict vegetarian diet and an obscure Burmese elixir might help. As an army chaplain in Burma during the Second World War he did a favour for a local and in return was given a brown liquid to drink and told it would make him live to at least 100. "Well I'm very naïve, I can't say no, so I drank it and here I am."

Bet he's seen a thing or two

He carried on working as a minister until 80. He also spent ten years as a teacher, married three times and remembers hearing about the sinking of the Titanic. He said: "I remember the days before Tarmac, the roads were all dust heaps." He recalls being shelled during the war and says he's lucky to be alive.