For a man of 100, Francis Moore doesn’t act his age – he’s as active as a man three decades younger, and he’s even got a mobile phone. But could this be the secret to his longevity?
The centenarian marked the occasion surrounded by family and friends from the Cowplain Activity Centre’s Short Mat Bowls Club, and the deputy mayor of Havant, Faith Ponsonby.
The centre was filled with fellow members he has played with over two decades of attending the club with Eve, his wife of 73 years.
The couple also hosted more than 70 guests at their home in Great Copse Drive, Leigh Park, which Francis, known as Pony, built himself.
Pony acquired his unusual nickname during his time in the Royal Army Dental Corps when he was a young man.
He says: ‘My surname is Moore and we did all our exercises on Dartmoor. And what are there lots of on the moors? Ponies. The name just stuck – everyone calls me Pony.’
After being drafted to Alexandria, Egypt, during the Second World War, the 100-year-old met Eve, now 92, who was working as a secretary.
It wasn’t the best first impression, Eve remembers.
‘I didn’t like him! I thought he was a snob, because he used to ignore me and never say hello as he walked past.’
But after one party they both attended, Pony piqued her interest.
‘He was just sat in the corner by himself, smoking a pipe – so naturally that got me interested. He wasn’t taking any notice of me and I wanted a bit of attention,’ says Eve.
It must have worked, as when the couple returned to the United Kingdom in 1947 it was as man and wife, with two young children, Sue and Carole.
After leaving the army, Pony worked as an accountant, and helped organise one of the first self-build schemes in the Leigh Park area during the late Seventies.
‘You’d come home from work and start laying bricks,’ he says. ‘I’m the only one of my fellow self-builders that is still around.’
As well as their daughters, Pony and Eve have four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Pony confesses he doesn’t have any secrets for being in such good health: ‘I’ve done everything wrong!
‘I smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, ate a cooked breakfast every morning, yet here I am.
‘I don’t do stress or worry – there’s no future in it.’
But when it comes to having a long, successful marriage, he’s quick to say: ‘I’ve got two words: “yes dear”.’