A LIFETIME of working outside in the fresh air has paid off for a Bletchley man who is this week celebrating two incredible milestones.
Former gardener and village postman Ronald Nichols was delighted to receive a telegram from the Queen on his 100th birthday last Friday.
Four days later he was even more chuffed when he and his wife Gladys received a second royal telegram – for reaching their 70th wedding anniversary.
“I am a lucky man,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of my marriage and I love Gladys just as much now as I did on the day I married her.”
The devoted couple, who still live in their own home in Westfield Road, met in a queue for the old County cinema in Fenny Stratford in the 1920s.
“I remember seeing her and thinking what a pretty girl she was,” said Ronald.
“But I don’t remember what film I’d gone to see –it would have been a silent one though. There were no talking movies in those days.”
After leaving school Bletchley-born Ronald worked as a gardener at Bletchley Park, when it was still the home of the Leon family.
“I worked there for 12 years for Lady Leon. I loved it,” he said.
After five and a half years serving his country in the war, Ronald returned from the army to marry his sweetheart.
“Gladys has always been the perfect wife. She’s a good cook and dressmaker and always looked after us,” he said.
Ronald joined the post office in 1948 and worked as a postman on rural rounds for the rest of his working life.
Any spare time was also spent in the fresh air, growing vegetables and flowers in his garden.
Famed for his dahlias, Ronald won prizes at shows all over the area.
“I gave up gardening a year or so ago. I’m still in quite good shape but my legs are letting me down a bit now,” he said.
Ronald swears his longevity is due to am ample supply of fresh air and fresh vegetables.
“And it helps to have a good marriage – which I have,” he said.
The couple have one son Keith who said: “There can’t be many people who have two telegrams from the Queen in four days.
“I am very proud of my mum and dad.”