Jimmy’s enjoyed 74 years of headlines

AS he prepares to turn 100 this weekend, James Napthine will be doing what he has done for most of his life - reading the East Anglian Daily Times.

Known to all his friends as Jimmy, Mr Napthine will reach the impressive landmark on Sunday and will be joined by friends and members of his large family at Saxmundham Golf Course for a party.

Mr Napthine, who was born in Wenhaston and has lived all his life in Suffolk, was one of 10 children. He still has a younger brother living nearby, who he sees regularly, and a sister who lives in Basildon.

He was married to Mary for 43 years until she died at the age of 62. Mr Napthine married second wife Honey in 1987 and the couple were together for more than 20 years until she passed away in 2008.

Mr Napthine still lives on his own in Saxmundham, helped by daily visits from carers, and is always watching the various sports channels, keeping an eye on the progress of his favourite football team, Norwich City.

His son Malcolm, 62, said: “He has had the East Anglian every day since 1938 - apart from 4 days in the late 1980s when his new wife, who liked the Mirror, got him to have a different paper but he found he could not live without it.

“He’s never really been ill all his life. He’s got a bit of diabetes but takes a tablet for that. He was in the Home Guard during the Second World War because he had worked on the land all his life. He worked on the same farm in Wenhaston until he was about 50 then he was a gardener at Blythburgh Hospital.

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“He’s still got a great appetite and he’s a sportsman - he used to take me to both Norwich City and Ipswich Town but he favoured Norwich. He’s always got Sky Sports on and watches all the matches. He also used to play darts but Bowles was his real game, he played for Wenhaston and then Halesworth Angels and Saxmundham Sports Club.”

Mr Napthine will celebrate his birthday with many of his four children, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

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