Denmead man celebrates his 100th birthday - and looks forward to huge celebration after pandemic
‘I can’t believe it. I had an incredible day,’ says Boris Mayfield, who celebrated his 100th birthday on March 4.
‘I don’t feel any different. I have been looking forward to my 100th and didn’t think I would make it on several occasions, with various illnesses. I never thought it would happen.’
Having defeated the odds, Boris, from Denmead, hoped to have a huge celebration with his family and friends to mark his centenary. It has been put on hold because of the pandemic but Boris is very much looking forward to a party once restrictions allow.
He explains: ‘We were going to organise a big party and I was going to have an open house all day for people to come in and see me. We were going to get all the food and drink from the Bakehouse in Denmead.
‘But now we have postponed that until the summer. I am going to be 100 all over again.’
Born in New Southgate, London, Boris was one of five boys. His parents later adopted a girl, the mother of Tracy Brown, who is his beloved niece and closest remaining relative who he sees regularly.
Boris spent much of his childhood in Hillingdon until two of his brothers contracted tuberculosis. He says: ‘It was because we used to drink bottled milk straight from cows without it being cleaned. We moved to Shoreham by the sea for the cleaner air.’
Boris remembers as a child, he went swimming in the sea nearly everyday, no matter the season or weather. Being so active is something he has kept up throughout his life and even at 100, he walks at least one mile each day.
After Boris left school at 16, he was ‘indentured’ to an architect where his imagination in his designs helped him to do well. He says: ‘I started as an architect’s assistant for two-and-a-half-years. Then the Second World War started and the army clinched my boss.’
When the Second World War began, he moved to the Lady B Shipyard in Shoreham where he spent the war as a draughtsman building and repairing multi torpedo and gun boats. Because of his interest in and love of aircraft, Boris – who was an Air Raid Warden – was given the task of plane spotter on a tower watching for enemy planes ready to sound the warning to the shipyard workers.
‘I have seen so much change in my lifetime,’ says Boris, reminiscing. ‘I remember on D-Day, watching planes flying out into the horizon. That is a sight I will never forget.’
After the war, the shipyard where Boris worked eventually closed and he found employment at the drawing office with BT.
‘I worked there for 37 years,’ says Boris. ‘I was manager of the drawing office in Portsmouth in 1982. I moved to Denmead in 1967.
‘I am in the same bungalow I’m in now. I loved it then and I love it now.’
Boris was his mother’s carer until she died in 1986. For the past few decades, Boris has battled several health problems himself but has always pushed through.
He says: ‘I climbed Scafell Pike when I was 80. I like to go to the Lake District every year to do some walking.
‘I go with a young family. Last year, my legs weren’t working properly so they wheeled me around in a wheelchair. Now I am back walking and we have booked to go this summer.’
Alongside his passion for walking, Boris is also an incredible painter and avid gardener.
‘As an architect, I always loved drawing. I am also a member of the Denmead Art Club,’ adds Boris.
When asked what the secret is to reaching 100, Boris replies: ‘The secret is to be interested in people and things. If you lose interest, you lose friends.
‘I am 100 and have a close group of friends who are in their 40s. It’s important to keep in touch with young people.’