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George celebrates his 100th birthday

PUBLISHED: 18:01 22 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:26 07 July 2010

George Cook celebrates his 100th birthday with his family

George Cook celebrates his 100th birthday with his family

For centenarian George Cook, reaching 100 years of age is just the latest milestone in a long life of lengthy achievements.

Norfolk born and bred, he worked as a lorry driver for 65 years, worked on a pig farm until he was 89 and in 74 years up to last year went to virtually every Norwich livestock market held.

For centenarian George Cook, reaching 100 years of age is just the latest milestone in a long life of lengthy achievements.

Norfolk born and bred, he worked as a lorry driver for 65 years, worked on a pig farm until he was 89 and in 74 years up to last year went to virtually every Norwich livestock market held.

It's all about doing what you enjoy, said Mr Cook, surrounded by his adopted family who helped him celebrate his 100th birthday at a care home in Sparham near Dereham this week.

Born at West Lexham, near Swaffham, his father, a shepherd, moved the family to nearby Little Dunham and then Sporle.

Aged 14 George left school to start work the next morning milking cows.

In 1935 he took up lorry driving, including during the war for the British Road Service, working for Swaffham Livestock, then Crisp Maltings of Dereham and finally P R Bennett at Yaxham, run by Drusilla Bennett, until 1989 when he was 80.

He continued to work for the Bennetts in their pig farm until he was 88.

“I kept working to keep me alive,” he said. “It kept me happy, working has never hurt anyone.”

His biggest enjoyment has been the weekly livestock market in Norwich. He has missed few from 1935, when he was 27, to last year.

“The market was just an open road,” he said of where Castle Mall now stands. “There were lime trees and pens where they unloaded the cattle.

“They sold anything what got legs on it. Them days were different than today and I miss the old partners and company.

“You could go to market and you would know nearly everyone. You go now and don't know anyone.”

When he joined P R Bennett in 1964 he was a bachelor and was taken in by the Bennetts, becoming one of the family at their home in Yaxham.

Now Drusilla Bennett's children, three grandchildren and three great grand children, all treat him as granddad. On Sunday the family are holding a party at their home in Yaxham.

And his secret to long life? “Do anything to keep you happy.”

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