March 24, 2021 4.48 pm This story is over 15 months old

Lincolnshire sends 600 cards and gifts to celebrate veteran’s 100th birthday

Happy birthday Bob!

A war veteran in Lincoln celebrated his 100th birthday in style, with hundreds of cards and gifts donated by the community.

Bob Sargent is an RAF veteran who served during the Second World War, and he turned 100-years-old on Wednesday, March 24.

In the build-up to his big day, an appeal was launched by The Lincolnite and Pauline Sidebottom, a volunteer at the veteran dedicated Camaraderie Club in Lincoln, to get Bob some birthday cards.

Cards were spilling off the table, Bob was spoilt for choice! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Pauline told The Lincolnite she could never have imagined the response that she gained, as over 550 cards and 50 gifts arrived for Bob.

Gifts flooded in from the Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Pennells Garden Centre and many more, as well as from kind members of the local community.

Bob’s love of aircraft was highlighted by his many gifts. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Lincolnite went to visit Bob at his home on his special day, and he got his best suit on for it, describing the amount of support he received as “overwhelming”.

A proud moment for an inspirational man. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Bob said: “Thank you so much to everyone, it is such an honour to be given these gifts, it is fantastic.”

Fellow RAF veterans were among the many to send Bob a birthday card, prompting Bob to regularly gasp in shock and tell us all how “wonderful” the day is for him.

Bob is front page news, both on his cards and in reality! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Bob moved to Lincolnshire 35 years ago, after spending most of his life in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.

He did tours of the Middle East in the 1940s while with the Air Force, and is noted to have worked on world famous aircraft such as the Halifax and the Spitfire.

With help from his interpreter, Bob was getting through his presents. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Despite his old age, Bob can still look after himself, living alone and organising his own cooking and cleaning even to this day.

Pauline calls every single day to check up on him, and his daughter does his shopping for him due to coronavirus lockdown, but today was a day for Bob to put his feet up and relax.

A buffet was donated to go alongside the gifts, as well as a selection of his favourite cakes and a personalised birthday cake.

Bob’s personalised 100th birthday cake was designed by a volunteer at the Camaraderie Club. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

We didn’t have long with Bob, but in the time we were there he told us stories of his days in the RAF, a time which Bob describes as the best years of his life, and his love of aircraft.

Bob wasn’t shy to show off his engineering certificates from his long, illustrious career. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

When asked for his secret for living such a long and prosperous life, Bob said: “Have good will to all, and hold no disdain for anyone.

“I am also a Freemason, and we have always been taught to practice kindness.”

His anecdotes fascinated us, as he wore his war medals with pride. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Pauline described Bob as Lincolnshire’s answer to Captain Sir Tom Moore, as he became the first Camaraderie Club member to hit the 100 year milestone.

The campaign for Bob’s cards was the idea of Pauline, but she instead wanted to thank the public for their generosity.

Certainly a day to remember for Bob. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“It was all about Bob, really. He’s had a great day and is overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone.

“Here I was thinking we would only get around 20 cards, and now we sit here with over 500 to go through, it’s amazing.”