VIDEO: 110th birthday joy in Sheffield for Britain’s oldest man

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Britain’s oldest man marked his 110th birthday in Sheffield - with a party for four generations of his family.

Ralph Tarrant, who still lives independently at his own flat in Broomhill, celebrated at The Rutland Hotel.

Britains oldest man Ralph Tarrant  on his 110th Birthday in Sheffield, enjoying his favourite drink, scotch.

Britains oldest man Ralph Tarrant on his 110th Birthday in Sheffield, enjoying his favourite drink, scotch.

The father of two, grandfather of seven, great-grandfather of 10 - with another on the way - and great-great-grandfather of three, was smartly dressed in a pinstripe suit, shirt and waistcoat for the occasion.

Ralph, a centre forward for the RAF football team during World War Two, and who spent his later years going for hikes in the Peak District and travelling around the world with his wife, declared himself fighting fit despite his exceptional age.

He said: “I’m still as fit as anyone - apart from having a bit of a cough. I hope to get back to doing some walking.

“It’s good to see all the family here.”

07/07/2013''Picture shows Britains oldest man Ralph Tarrant  on his 110th Birthday in Sheffield, South Yorkshire enjoying his favourite drink scotch.''rossparry.co.uk / Chris Fairweather

07/07/2013''Picture shows Britains oldest man Ralph Tarrant on his 110th Birthday in Sheffield, South Yorkshire enjoying his favourite drink scotch.''rossparry.co.uk / Chris Fairweather

He celebrated by enjoying a glass of his favourite Scotch whisky.

Ralph, who became Britain’s oldest man in February, is also a record-breaker in another sense.

He and wife Phyllis, who met in 1922 and married 11 years later, were Britain’s longest married couple at 78 years before Phyllis died in 2011 aged 102.

The couple have two daughters - Brenda Hill, 75, and Christine Carter, 67.

07/07/2013''Picture shows Britains oldest man Ralph Tarrant  on his 110th Birthday in Sheffield, South Yorkshire enjoying his favourite drink scotch.''rossparry.co.uk / Chris Fairweather

07/07/2013''Picture shows Britains oldest man Ralph Tarrant on his 110th Birthday in Sheffield, South Yorkshire enjoying his favourite drink scotch.''rossparry.co.uk / Chris Fairweather

Ralph started work aged 13 in the office at Turton Platts steelworks where he stayed until being called up for WWII. He later became an insurance salesman.

He met his wife in Crookes, at a church youth group, and they married at St Thomas’ Church in 1933.

He said: “I worked hard. When I was called up for war it was difficult because our eldest daughter, Brenda, was only a baby. She didn’t see me for five years - she must have thought I was away on holiday or something.”

During WWII Ralph was stationed at Invergordon, in Scotland, maintaining Sutherland aircraft.

He was able to fly on some missions, including out into the North Sea to search for survivors from downed planes, and also to Iceland and Northern Ireland.

While stationed at the base, he played football for the RAF - and was instrumental in setting up matches on his base to keep the men busy when off-duty.

Ralph said: “I had always played in Sheffield. At Invergordon, the lads were pushing me a bit to get something arranged. We had no sports or activities.

“I made an application to the flight sergeant and the commanders said they would designate a sports officer.”

Ralph said that, after he retired, he and his wife were ‘able to enjoy life’ - travelling to the US eight or nine times, as well as to other parts of the world including Germany, where he visited Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest retreat.

Younger daughter Christine, who moved to Illinois in the USA in 1974, flew back to Sheffield for the celebrations, and said: “My father would say he achieved his remarkable old age through his fitness.

“As well as football, he liked running, cycling, gymnastics and he and his wife went on dates involving walks to the Derwent Dams.

“He has also kept his mind active. He liked crosswords and reading, although his eyesight is not so good these days, and he still plays Scrabble and cards.”

Christine revealed her father is among the world’s oldest people tested for a study by Boston University, to compare their genes with other people’s to see if there is any clue for their unusual old age.

She said: “People aged over 106 have been tested.”

Ralph says the secret of long life is down to eating a healthy diet.