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Belfast navy veteran reflects on ‘good life’ as he celebrates 100th birthday in coronavirus lockdown

Tom Ferrett, from Belfast, received a birthday cake from his favourite football team Glentoran that his father played for.

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Tom Ferrett said he had a ‘lovely day’ on his 100th birthday, despite having to celebrate in lockdown (Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association/PA)

Tom Ferrett said he had a ‘lovely day’ on his 100th birthday, despite having to celebrate in lockdown (Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association/PA)

Tom Ferrett said he had a ‘lovely day’ on his 100th birthday, despite having to celebrate in lockdown (Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association/PA)

A Belfast centenarian has said he had a “lovely day” on his milestone birthday, despite having to celebrate in quarantine.

Tom Ferrett, who shared his 100th birthday on Thursday with NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore, said he feels he has been lucky in life.

The Royal Navy veteran, who lives in Palmerston Care Home in east Belfast, was delighted to receive a birthday cake from his favourite football team Glentoran FC and a wave from his granddaughter Jill through the window.

Mr Ferrett served on HMS Speedy, a fleet mine sweeper, as an electrical engineer and on HMS Tyne before leaving the forces and working for the Post Office.

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Glentoran FC sent Tom a birthday cake.

Glentoran FC sent Tom a birthday cake.

Glentoran FC sent Tom a birthday cake.

He said he married the “love of his life” Margaret Millar in 1946, and had two children, before welcoming five grandchildren.

“I’ve had an absolutely lovely day,” he said. “This is the type of occasion that you really only get once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky.

“I do feel like I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had a very good life and it is something that I’m very grateful for.

“I want to thank all my friends and family, all the staff at Palmerston and Glentoran Football Club for all their good wishes, and for all the kindness that they have shown me.”

Geraldine Gilpin, chief executive of Abbeyfield & Wesley Housing Association, described Mr Ferrett as an “immensely positive individual” with a “fantastic attitude to life”.

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Tom’s granddaughter Jill paid a socially distanced visit. (Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association/PA)

Tom’s granddaughter Jill paid a socially distanced visit. (Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association/PA)

Tom’s granddaughter Jill paid a socially distanced visit. (Abbeyfield and Wesley Housing Association/PA)

She added: “He embraces each day and it is an honour that we have been able to celebrate his 100th birthday with him.

“Tom is passionate about football and was very touched by the birthday cake which Glentoran Football Club sent. His father played for the Glens and the club has a special place in his heart.

“I’m also grateful that the lockdown environment we’re operating in has not dampened Tom’s spirits.

“It is important that we celebrate these milestones, reflect on happy memories and create moments that can be cherished in the future.”

PA