Happy Birthday Roy - Luton Town's oldest fan!

The bunting was hanging and the red carpet rolled out in one house this week as Luton Town's oldest fan marked his 100th birthday.

Friday, 2nd September 2016, 9:40 am
Updated Friday, 2nd September 2016, 11:01 am

Roy Wightman hit the landmark age on Wednesday and was delighted with his birthday message from The Queen.

But the sprightly centenarian has overcome adversity. Four years ago, he was crushed from the waist down beneath a car after a motorist mounted the pavement and he needed steel implants in his legs.

Doctors predicted Roy would never walk again, but he defied all expectations.

He said: “If there’s one message I would say to anyone, it is ... Never give up! Keep going.”

Roy was born on August 31, 1916 and grew up in London Colney – then a small village on the outskirts of St Albans.

After serving during the Second World War, he worked for a distillery in Perth before moving to Luton where he worked as a researcher at Whitbread brewery on Oakley Road.

He said: “This country has changed more than you can imagine. I can remember when I was only five years old and we were hungry. You hear those poor souls today, refugees who are starving, but it happened in this country. There was no health service, no social security.

“I can remember the Great Depression. My father was an engineer, a skilled man, and he could find no work. We had nothing, we ate what was put in front of us and we were only too pleased to get it.

“When the health service was set up in 1948, everybody ran to the optician for a pair of glasses, went to the dentist to have their teeth out or to see a chiropodist concerning their feet troubles. Before this, if you wanted to see a doctor you had to pay five shillings ... people didn’t have the money.”

Roy lost his wife Nancy 17 years ago but is still regularly visited by son Tony and grandson Joe.

After being forced to retire at 65, he was among the first volunteers involved with Keech Hospice – one of his proudest achievements.