Oldest man dies

Monday 29 September 1997 23:02 BST

England's oldest man - who gave up smoking when he was 97 and lived through the reigns of four kings and two queens - has died at the age of 108. Keen gardener George Cook died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday night at the Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society home in Westcott, Dorking in Surrey.

Mr Cook was born at the outbreak of the Boer War when Gladstone was prime minister on 17 June 1889. On his 108th birthday in June this year he was officially entered in the Guinness Book of Records as Britain's oldest man.

But his joy was short-lived when just a month later David Henderson, of Laurencekirk in Angus, announced that he was two weeks older - and after some deliberations Mr Cook was re-crowned the oldest man in England.

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