‘Plenty of red wine,’ said Geoffrey Albert Thomas Weaving – known to friends as Geoff – who is one of the last surviving D-Day veterans from World War Two.
Geoff celebrated his milestone birthday with family, residents and team members at Care UK’s Skylark House in Horsham, where he lives.
The team there knew they wanted to do an extra special celebration for Geoff and joined forces with his family to create a memorable day.
Geoff, his family, and all at Skylark House were treated to entertainment by Samantha who sang songs from the 1940s. In true birthday fashion, the Skylark team decorated the home’s lounge with birthday balloons and banners and the home’s head chef baked a special birthday cake, much to Geoff’s surprise.
Geoff was born on September 17 1923 in Glasshoughton in Yorkshire. He joined the Royal Navy in 1942, aged just 19, where he first trained as a wireless operator learning morse code and lamp signalling.
Just two years into his naval career, Geoff boarded HMS Astral in 1944, to join the fleet of ships in the Solent at Portsmouth ahead of D-Day. He was tasked with listening out for the presence of German ships and helping to send messages between British boats. The ship was later awarded the Battle of Honour Normandy 1944 for its role on D-Day.
Geoff said he first discovered the pleasure of drinking red wine on holidays in France after the war and he credits his longevity to it. “Drink plenty of red wine! It hasn’t done me any harm,” he said.
After the war, Geoff forged a successful career as a bank manager for Midland Bank, now known as HSBC. His career saw him move around the country to work at different branches including in Yorkshire, Sheffield, and Leeds, before he retired to Exmouth, and later settling in Horsham in 1997.
Geoff has three children: Jacqueline, John, and Stephanie, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren who regularly visit him at Skylark House.
Daughter Jacqueline said: “I am so happy our Dad is still here and able to celebrate his 100th birthday, and look forward to the next few years together. I think it’s incredible that at such a young age, Dad left home to help defend his country. As a family we are incredibly proud of all his achievements.”
Skylark House manager Dorota Woloszyn added: “Geoff is a much-loved resident here at Skylark House. Inspired by Geoff’s history in the Navy, we were excited to organise a truly special birthday for his milestone.
“Here at Skylark House, we always like to celebrate significant milestones, and Geoff’s 100th birthday was no exception. The team worked tirelessly to make sure his day was one to remember, and we would like to thank everyone who came along to wish Geoff a happy birthday.
“It has been a day of honouring all of Geoff’s many achievements and one we will not forget for a long time to come.”