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Read all about it... former paper boy George celebrates his 100th birthday

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 01/01/2016

George Kirkpatrick yesterday with a copy of Ireland’s Saturday Night, which he used to sell as a boy
George Kirkpatrick yesterday with a copy of Ireland’s Saturday Night, which he used to sell as a boy
George with his birthday cards
George with a birthday card from The Queen

Sprightly Coleraine pensioner George Kirkpatrick is celebrating his 100th birthday today.

The centenarian, originally from just off the Shankill Road, arrived into the world on January 1, 1916, to George and Margaret Kirkpatrick.

He now lives in a flat in Coleraine that he says has "everything in place" for him.

His birthday celebrations today will include a walk in the town and a special dinner. "I'll be going out for a meal with friends, grandchildren and my daughter's husband," he said.

George's wife, Emma, died in 1993 and their daughter, Margaret, passed away earlier this year following a cancer diagnosis. "I miss them desperately," he said.

George told the Belfast Telegraph about his fond memories of selling our former sister paper, Ireland's Saturday Night, as a boy.

"We would put our money together, jump on the trams and sell them at inns," he said. "If my mother had known she would have whacked me."

George had a range of jobs over the years, spending many as an engineer at the shipyard in Belfast, and for Bombardier and Rolls Royce. He always enjoyed work and keeping fit.

"When I was 13 I started to work in a barber's shop," he said. "I joined a boxing club and I liked to keep fit. With my money I bought Mr [Charles] Atlas's chest expanders, but I never got a body like his. I have a fair diet - I don't really drink, but I occasionally have a glass of cider."

And George has some sage advice for the young. "Gambling took me down," he said. "Stay off the drink and the gambling. Just live and enjoy your life while you have it."

Today, fitness remains an important aspect of George's life. "I walk a lot," he said. "I like reading. I am still capable - I use a four-wheeler to get about and I can take a stride better than I could with a stick.

"I am firm believer in, 'If you don't use it, you lose it'. [My friends] all kid me on because I go out at all times for a dander. Thank God I've got my health."

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