BLENHEIM House resident, Peter Bailey, celebrated his 100th birthday last month and reveals his secret to a long and happy life.
Our Melksham Independent News reporter visited Peter at Blenheim House to talk to him about his wondrous 100 years and let us into how he has managed to stay so active.
Peter said, “I was born in Swindon on December 3rd, 1917. I am the father to two boys and was married for 64 years to my wife, who has sadly passed.
“I started my working career in the Royal Air Force. I was in the RAF for five years and showed a keen interest in radio. I then left the RAF and opened a shop in Swindon called The Recording Centre on Victoria Road and worked there for 58 years until I retired and moved to Spain to live out my life there.
“I then moved to Melksham at Crown House for 10 years but unfortunately, I had a stroke, which has resulted in me being bound to a wheelchair. I have been at Blenheim House now for four years.
“A highlight in my life would have to be my trip to America where I met up with other radio enthusiasts, part of the radio fraternity, as my interest in radio still carries on to this day.
“I have a large allotment here at Blenheim House, and I have been planting since March last year until October when the weather became bad. I grow everything, 30 different varieties of vegetables. Some of them are even award-winning having come 3rd for my cucumbers in a competition. I hope to continue this next year with the interest in growing flowers.”
When the Melksham Independent News asked Peter what the secret was to living to 100 he laughed and said, “I’ll tell you what it is, always find something to do. I’ve learned to paint since being here and in fact I have sold paintings, making me a professional artist! I created 60 different paintings last year. It is something I do more-so in the winter when I can’t be out in my allotment.
“There was an exhibition here last year and there used to be a painting class and it was popular with everyone here, and I was lucky to have my painting chosen to be a part of the exhibition, it was great to be chosen out of so many.”
Looking around Peter’s room, he has a framed letter from the Queen that has taken pride of place next to him. Melksham Independent News asked Peter how it felt to receive such a prestigious gift he said, “It feels rather personal to receive a signed letter by the queen. It’s actually her own penned signature, it’s not a stamp. It’s remarkable how she can get the same signature each time. It’s a beautiful signature too.
“I also really love the photograph, the photographer did an amazing job. That’s something else I’m rather fond of, photography.”
The conversation ended with Peter gearing up for the day, heading to grab a cup of coffee, ready to check the schedule of events to keep him busy – he has got to keep true to his own advice!