THE secret to a long and happy life is two regular Yorkshire traditions.
According to 100 year old Harold Firth; eating fish and chips with mushy peas and buttered bread and reading the Yorkshire Evening Post every day, helps to keep all his faculties alert and is in the best of health.
Mr Firth celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday, with a visit from the Lord Mayor Councillor Tom Murray and wife Edna, the Lady Mayoress.
Great grandad Mr Firth, who lives at Rievaulx House Care Centre, at Thornhill Road, Armley, also gave the Lord Mayor of Leeds some advice: “Live simply.”
His only son Graham Firth, 68, held a party at the centre with staff, and the birthday boy received three cakes as well as a card from the Queen.
Son Graham said: “My dad has lead a really simple life and is in good health for his age. He was a bit overwhelmed with all the fuss, but had a great day. He likes to chat with the care staff and really is in the best of with no ailments.
“He enjoys regular fish and chips with mushy peas and bread and butter. I used to get them for him from Five Lane Ends, but now go to the shop on Armley Town Street.”
Mr Firth was born and brought up at North West View, near the city centre in Woodhouse, and lived on the next street after he married wife Annie. They later moved to Beckett’s Park in Headingley in the 1960s.
After the war Mr Firth worked for most of his life as a tailor, working at Dickson and Gaunt, at East Street and was always smartly dressed.
Lord Mayor Coun Murray said: “Harold is an exceptional bloke. I have been to lots of 100th birthdays, but up until now they have all been women. Follow Harold’s advice, have a long life and live simply.”
Care centre manager Andrea Gibson said: “Harold is in marvellous health considering his age, he is just a bit hard of hearing. He is very independent and alert and reads the Yorkshire Evening Post every day.”
During World War II Harold served with the Royal Artillery as a gunner, up until 1944.
He was serving in Italy when he was shot in the leg by Italian troops. He suffered an injury to his calf muscle, and spent time in an Army hospital but when he recovered barely complained about it again.
When Mr Firth was 98 he celebrated his birthday by going to the city centre Stick and Twist pub with son Graham for a pint of bitter, followed by fish and chips.
He enjoys reading a newspaper every day, which keeps his brain alert.
He has a slight loss of hearing but is otherwise in good health.
Mr Firth was born in Woodhouse, Leeds, on April 15, 1914.