Frank Hardy reaches a century

Frank Hardy celebrated his 100th birthday on March 21.

Frank Hardy celebrated his 100th birthday on March 21.

The remarkable Frank was born in Middleton, Lancashire in England in 1922, where he was the eldest of six children. His parents owned a fish and chips shop in London, and from a very young age he had to work in the shop, in harsh conditions.

According to his son, Graham, Frank was taken out of school, aged 12, to work in the shop full time, and so when he had a chance to join the Royal Air Force, at the start of World War 2, he jumped at it and signed up on his 18th birthday.

In June 1941, Frank was posted to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and served out the war years there. In December 1945, Frank returned to England, but he did not stay long, and went back to Rhodesia and worked in the fish trade. On his next visit to England, he met his future wife, Winifred, at a dance in Manchester. They were married, and went to live in Rhodesia.

Frank worked at Kingston’s Bookshop in Gwelo (Gweru today) and Bulawayo, and he and Win had four children. In 1965, after Rhodesia declared independence from the Commonwealth, the family moved to Port Elizabeth, now Gqeberha, where Frank was manager of the Central News Agency (CNA) store in Main Street.

Frank’s secret to long life is a healthy diet, daily exercise and positive thinking. In addition to his children, Frank has 11 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, with a ninth on the way.

Graham said, “Dad remains very mobile, enjoys walks, and works on his computer every day. He loves photography – he has over 200 000 photos on his computer, and enjoys reading.

“Above all, Dad is an inspirational man who lived his life to provide for his family, and to always be there as a person who you could turn to for anything.”

He is a devout parishioner at St Mary’s Cathedral for 56 years, including eight years as churchwarden.

“With his ever-positive mindset, Dad has set a new goal of 105 years as the number to aim for.

“We think he might just get there!”