Video: Bob’s secret to long life

Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

Your chance to trace past family members on the web

  • Bob Hunt meets nephew for the first time on his 104th birthday
  • Bob’s tip to achieve longevity is to just enjoy life
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There’s not a lot that can surprise someone at the age of 104.

So when Robert ‘Bob’ Hunt met his nephew for the first time on his birthday, he took it in his stride.

(Pictured left to right) Marian Chilvers, Pat Curtis, Bob Hunt and Conrad Chilvers celebrated Bob's 104th birthday on April 1

(Pictured left to right) Marian Chilvers, Pat Curtis, Bob Hunt and Conrad Chilvers celebrated Bob's 104th birthday on April 1

‘It was something unusual, and I am glad I met him,’ says Bob.

Conrad Chilvers, 71, made the journey from Northumberland to visit Bob at Steep House Nursing Home in Petersfield.

He discovered his mother had a brother through family research.

It was a picture of Robert’s 100th birthday in his local paper that got him in contact with the centenarian’s daughter Pat a month ago.

My father is an incredible man. He only uses a stick to walk, he doesn’t take any painkillers and he doesn’t need glasses to read the newspaper.

Pat Curtis, 77, daughter of Bob Hunt

‘It was a tremendous experience. I wanted to know if there was anything he could remember about my mother. He quoted her as being bossy,’ Conrad jokes.

Pat, 77, came over to England from her home in Brittany to see her father. She says: ‘It is very exciting, being an only child.’

She adds: ‘My father is an incredible man. He only uses a stick to walk, he doesn’t take any painkillers and he doesn’t need glasses to read the newspaper.’

Bob says the secret of long life is to ‘just jog along and enjoy yourself.’ For much of his life he lived down Magdalen Road in North End with his wife Rose and taught mathematics at Prices School in Fareham.

Robert Hunt as a young man in his naval uniform

Robert Hunt as a young man in his naval uniform

He joined the Royal Navy as a shipwright artificer apprentice in 1925 and graduated as a petty officer. He spent the next few years on an aircraft carrier on the China station, and during the Second World War he was on North Atlantic convoy escort duties operating out of Liverpool and Londonderry.

Later in his naval career, Bob was also on the personal staff of Lord Mountbatten when he was in charge of the Mediterranean Fleet based in HMS Liverpool in Malta. ‘We used to have morning meetings with him. He was a jolly chap,’ says Bob.

In later life, Bob spent some time in Witney to be near to Pat. It was here that he celebrated his 100th birthday and was paid a visit by his local MP, David Cameron.

To celebrate his birthday, Pat and Conrad joined Bob for a meal at the Red Lion pub in Chalton.