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'Grandad' celebrates his 100th birthday in his favourite pub

A Ramsgate centenarian who has outlived one of the country’s most iconic shops celebrated his birthday with a right royal knees-up in his favourite local.

John East, affectionately known as 'Grandad’ to drinkers at the Earl St Vincent in Ramsgate, was born in 1909, the year Woolworths opened its first UK store.

Punters packed into the King Street pub on Sunday, March 1, to celebrate the 100-year-old’s milestone.

Lance Corporal Nicholas Hawkings of the Coldstream Guards, the historic regiment which Mr East used to serve for, made a surprise appearance at the party.

Sir Alastair Hunter, a deputy lieutenant of Kent, also paid a visit to present a telegram from the Queen, and a letter from Prime Minister Gordon Brown was read out.

Sandie Jackson, who manages the Earl St Vincent, said: “John knew he was having a party but he had no idea that so many people would turn up. I think he found it all quite overwhelming."

Mr East is a regular customer at the Earl St Vincent and always makes an impressive entrance on his mobility scooter.

He received dozens of birthday cards and several special presents, including an engraved crystal glass and an original copy of The Times newspaper dating back to 1909.

Mrs Jackson added: “What else can you get for a 100-year-old who has everything?”

1909 was the year that:

Woolies opened its doors for the very first time.

Louis Bleriot became the first man to cross the English Channel, making the trip from Dover to Calais in 37 minutes.

Another thrill seeker, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, bravely trekked across Antarctica to discover the south magnetic pole.

And in sport, Manchester United won the FA Cup for the first time, beating Bristol City 1-0.

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