Life

By Hollie Bone

 

The ninth oldest man in the UK has revealed regularly treating himself to FISH AND CHIPS for the last 107 years has kept him young.

John Tinniswood was born in Liverpool in 1912 – the same year The Titanic sank – and has lived through two World Wars, but still manages all his own finances, and reads the newspaper every day.

The former Shell-Mex and BP depot clerk celebrated his 107th birthday in August, at the Hollies Rest Home in Southport, Merseyside, where the chef serves up a seaside favourite every Friday.

But the father-of-one, grandfather-of four, and great grandfather said battered fish and chips, which has been a traditional British treat since the 19th century, is his very own secret to a long life – even if he can’t stand mushy peas.

Retiree John said: “Fish and chips has got to be my favourite dish, it’s always been such a treat, and I think looking forward to my next visit to the chippy has kept me young.

“I feel the same now as I did when I was in my 80s, nothing has changed really.

“Now I get to have my favourite once a week here so I always look forward to a Friday, and occasionally we get an extra special treat when we order it from The Swan – a Southport chippy which is famous all over the world for its fish and chips.

“I remember going to The Swan as a younger man on a cold winter’s night and the atmosphere was always heavy with the smell of fish.

“Back then, the restaurant had six seats where you’d have to pay more for a sit down meal because the table was further out and the smell of fish wasn’t so strong.

“I never minded the smell, but I can’t stand mushy peas.”

While John bucks the trend in the mushy peas department, he claims he’s not a fussy eater, with care home staff attesting to that, adding that the supercentenarian usually clears his plate no matter what you put in front of him.

Due to problems with his eyesight, John was given an administrative role with the Royal Mail during the Second World War, during which time he met his late wife, Blodwen, at a dance in Liverpool.

The couple married in 1942, and welcomed their only child, Susan, in 1943, before spending 44 happy years together until Blodwen died in 1986.

Today, John is still an avid Liverpool FC fan who said keeping active and constantly learning have also helped to keep his mind so sharp that he still gets himself out of bed unassisted before reading the newspaper, and handling all of his own finances.

He said: “Keeping active is very import, I’ve always loved football but when I was younger I was part of the Liverpool Rambler’s Association which went hiking all over the country.

“We used to meet up at least once a month, and when all the associations from all over the UK met up once a year we could fill an entire train.

“The Rambler’s Associations don’t really exist anymore and I haven’t been hiking for quite some years but I largely carry on here as I would if I was still living independently.

“I like talking to the staff, it’s good to have people come in with different ideas and thoughts to share – I always say you should never go to bed at night without having learned something new that day.”

John is the eldest resident at the Hollies Rest Home, where the staff helped to celebrate his birthday by throwing a barbecue party and surprising him with an original edition of The Times newspaper from the day he was born.

Owner Helen Eslick said: “We can’t believe how independent he is, he comes down every month to pay his own bill and toddles back up to his room with the receipt.

“Every morning he gets out of bed by himself and reads the paper, he talks to us about what’s happening with Brexit and his time working at Shell-Mex.

“He’s as sharp as a knife even at 107, we’re so lucky to have him at the home.”