Playing sport kept Jack - now 100 - young

Jack Chapman celebrates his 100th birthday with daughter Jean Baird and her husband Ian. 
Picture Mark Westley
Jack Chapman celebrates his 100th birthday with daughter Jean Baird and her husband Ian. Picture Mark Westley

Playing sport, not smoking and cryptic crosswords. These are the secrets to a long life according to Jack Chapman – and his family.

Mr Chapman celebrated his 100th birthday on February 1 at home in Redgrave, near Diss, with a two-day party for friends.

“I can’t reason it,” said Mr Chapman, “I have never smoked, always been interested in keeping fit through sport, so that must be my secret.”

Mr Chapman, who was born in Wisbech in 1917, attended Stamford School, and began his career as a wages clerk before working in accounts for the RAF during the Second World War. He went onto work as an accountant at both Blackstones and Newall’s and then later for the EMAP publishing company, based in Peterborough. He lived for several years in Stamford and Wothorpe.

He was married to Elsie for 73 years after the couple met when they were teenagers.

A keen sports fan, he also played rugby for Stamford Town.

“He doesn’t even look 100,” said his daughter, Jean Baird, 71. “And even today he still keeps himself physically and mentally active with holidays and cryptic crosswords.” Jean and husband Ian are pictured with Jack.