Dennis ascends to 100

Dennis says his secret to long life is everything in moderation
Dennis says his secret to long life is everything in moderation
Hayling Island Lions member Rod Elliott outside Tesco, Station Road, Hayling Island

LETTER OF THE DAY: Claws out over Santa

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Dennis Rawkins has proved you’re never too old to try something new. Or to try it again.

To celebrate his 100th birthday, Dennis, from Stubbington, went on two helicopter rides – one while visiting his son Douglas in Solihull, and the other in Stubbington.

Dennis enjoyed two helicopter rides as part of his birthday celebrations

Dennis enjoyed two helicopter rides as part of his birthday celebrations

‘I haven’t done much flying in my life and this was a new experience, but I wasn’t at all fazed by it. It was very thrilling,’ says Dennis.

On his trip in Solihull, Dennis flew over Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle. His local trip was organised by the family of his late wife Vera, and took him on a flight around the Isle of Wight.

During the Second World War, Dennis was an officer in an anti-submarine unit, and worked for the Zurich Insurance Company before and after the war.

For his birthday, Dennis received 65 cards, including one from the Queen, a hamper from Zurich and 14 bottles of wine.

I haven’t done much flying in my life and this was a new experience, but I wasn’t at all fazed by it. It was very thrilling

Dennis Rawkins

‘Enough to keep me going for a little while,’ he jokes.

Dennis’s secret to success, surprisingly, is moderation.

He says: ‘I have led quite a quiet life when I come to think about it. I haven’t been abroad on holiday, I gave up smoking 60 years ago, I don’t drink much and now I’m seeing the results.’

But he adds: ‘I’m trying to cram in everything I can – I don’t feel 100.’