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Stratford’s ‘healthiest man’ turns 100

MILESTONE: Julien celebrates his 100th birthday

A RETIRED carpenter described as the "healthiest man in Stratford" recently celebrated his 100th birthday along with 300 guests at his local church hall.

Centenarian Julien Bridgeman, born on July 22, 1913, has 19 children, 47 grandchildren and 58 great grandchildren – many of whom travelled from his homeland of Grenada, America, Canada, Aruba and Trinidad to be part of his special day.

But because of a mistake on his passport stating his date of birth as August 12, the fun-loving pensioner has always chosen to celebrate his birthday twice.

Bridgeman told The Voice: “I was really happy. There was loads of dancing… I even showed them the Candy routine [to the song by US group Cameo] as a lot of them had never seen me dance before or do the [traditional Caribbean dance] quadrille.”

The party took place at St Francis RC Church in Stratford, east London, on August 10.

Bridgeman, the eldest of five brothers and one sister, came to London in 1960 having spent time working in Trinidad and Aruba.

He has been married three times and outlived two wives.

Despite this, he is very active; he dances three to four times a week at various social groups, such as the Happy Living Club in Stratford, and sings in the choir at his local church.

He said: “I spent 10 years at Stratford Circus and the Theatre Royal, that was 52 years ago, but I am a carpenter by trade, which I retired from 40 years ago. I have worked all my life and have never been on the dole.”

A popular figure in his community, and one who finds it hard to sit down, Bridgeman surprised many last year when he extended his garden shed.

He added: “I went to get a flu injection and my doctor told that I was the oldest and healthiest man in Stratford.

"I do get the odd aches and pains when walking up the stairs, but I have no complaints.”

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