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William bounces back at 102

A GREAT Sutton man has made a miraculous recovery from an apparently fatal illness to celebrate his 102nd birthday.

William Roddan

A GREAT Sutton man has made a miraculous recovery from an apparently fatal illness to celebrate his 102nd birthday.

We were all set to bring you the story of William Roddan ­- who remembers Queen Victoria's funeral ­ midway through last month, complete with celebratory picture.

Then, just before we were due to go to press, we learned from his family he had fallen ill and had been rushed into the Countess of Chester Hospital.

William spent his birthday on June 19 dangerously ill. Things looked bleak and his family gathered around him.

But, amazingly, he pulled through and is now in Ellesmere Port Hospital, gradually regaining his strength.

And one of the first things he asked when he came round in the Countess was if his picture had been in the Pioneer yet!

William was born in Liverpool but moved to Ellesmere Port in the 1940s.

He served with the Irish Guards during the First World War but was never sent over to France.

By the time the Second World War came around he was in his 40s and considered too old to join the forces.

He was employed by Shell for most of his working life. After moving to Ellesmere Port he lived with his family first in King Street and moved to Brooklyn Drive in the early 50s.

His wife died in 1977. The couple had four children, two of whom survive ­- a daughter, and a son who lives in Gloucestershire.

His 76-year-old daughter, Dorothy, described how her father actually witnessed the funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901 from the vantage point of his father's shoulders.

Although he was little more than a baby at the time, he particularly recalls the coal-black horses and plumes of the funeral procession.

Dorothy said: 'Dad was dangerously ill and things looked bleak but miracles do happen and somehow he pulled through.

'Now I'm just looking forward to having him home, which hopefully will be in the next week or so.'

And the secret of such a very long life? According to Dorothy, her dad reckons it's all in your genes.

She said: 'He has always done things in moderation. He used to smoke years ago but assures me he never inhaled. He still likes a drop of scotch and he swears by hard graft. He started school at three and work at 14.

'It's amazing to think he was born at the end of the 19th century, lived right through the 20th and is still going strong in the 21st century.

'Not many people will be able to match that.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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