'Not seen a doctor in years' - Incredible Ken celebrates 103rd birthday
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A 103-year-old war veteran who has survived Covid and Spanish Flu said the secret of his long life is not smoking or drinking and eating plenty of fresh vegetables every day.
Kenneth Hoyes celebrated his 103rd birthday at the Uvedale Hall home in Needham Market on Tuesday, November 9, where he was joined by his daughter Amanda Thornsby, 61, who flew in from Madeira to see her father for the first time since July.
Ahead of the celebrations Mr Hoyes joked that he "wished he was turning 43" then proudly added that he "hadn't seen a doctor for years".
Mr Hoyes was an ambulance driver during WW2 and lost hearing on one side after he was bombed on a war ship.
The veteran can still vividly remember his time in the army and described how he helped rescue the injured from Dunkirk in his ambulance whilst the town was still being shelled by the Germans.
He said humbly: "There were far braver soldiers than me," adding "I was a little cog in a big wheel".
It was whilst he was in Europe that Mr Hoyes met his wife Anna Maria in Austria - she became one of the first 'war brides' to leave the country to come to England.
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After the sad death of Anna Maria and the couple's youngest daughter Melanie in 1996, Mr Hoyes lived with Amanda in Martlesham Heath before moving to the home in Needham Market. He has two granddaughters and five great grandchildren.
Speaking about her father Mrs Thornsby said: "Reaching 103 is an amazing achievement and bearing in mind what he has been through in his life and what the world has thrown at him now, even with getting Covid he has just battled through.
"The determination of that generation is just amazing."
As well as surviving Covid last winter Mr Hoyes has also seen off Spanish flu and Malaria in his lifetime.
Mrs Thornsby said she has lovely childhood memories of her father: "He introduced me to nature to animals, to football, I was taken religiously to see Lincoln City."
Taking his daughter to Lincoln City matches was a tradition Mr Hoyes carried on from his own father who took him to his first match when he was seven.
Mrs Thornsby was quick to praise the staff at Uvedale Hall for the way they have looked after her father so well.
Suzanne York, Home Manager at Uvedale Hall, said that Mr Hoyes was "very cool" about his birthday celebrations which included a visit from the king himself - local Elvis impersonator Andy Ottley.
Ms York said: " Ken has the kindest heart and really does enjoy the simple things in life.
"He is a very incredible man, we are lucky to have him here, Ken can teach you a lot about life."