A retired headteacher who weighed as little as a bag of sugar when he was born and was told he wouldn’t live past the age of seven – has just turned 101.
Albert Pickering was so tiny as a newborn that he “could fit in a pint glass”.
But now, the centurion, known as “Pick” to his friends, is so fit that he still gets on a bus each week to do his shop at the supermarket.
Every morning he will have a drink of cider vinegar, honey and water for his digestion.
His secret to a long and happy life is to “have willpower”.
But amazingly, he still smokes a pipe.
The father-of-three, he has two sons and a daughter, celebrated his great milestone on Sunday by going out for a meal with is family.
The family man, known as “Dadda” to all his family, has six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
Albert, originally from Derbyshire, has lived a colourful life.
It all started when his mum went into early labour in March 1917 as the Zeppelins were bombing at the end of WWI.
Granddaughter Holly Pickering, 32, said: “We don’t actually know how premature Dadda was. He always told us he was an ‘early bird’.
“They said he was so tiny that he could fit in a pint pot.
“His mum was given the advice that she ought to keep him wrapped up and warm and that if she gets him to seven-years-old she’s done a good job.”
Luckily Albert suffered no ill consequences for his early arrival and instead gave him the determination to live life to the full.
Holly, PA to a headteacher, said: “We are part of a big family. We all take heed of Dadda’s message to have will and determination.
“He has always been very positive and told us wonderful stories.”
When Albert was older he had to put his degree on hold when, during the Second World War, he taught PE to RAF officers.
He was first based in the seaside town of Skegness, Lincs., and later moved down south to Torquay, Devon.
Albert married Beatrice in 1940 and they celebrated their golden anniversary before she died.
After the war in 1946 Albert started teaching in Swadlincote, Derbys.
He then moved to Mansfield, Notts., when he started teaching at The Park School Federation, on Orchard Close, Shirebrook, Derbys., were he was the junior school’s first headteacher.
He retired from the 22-year role in 1982.
The school celebrated Albert turning 100 by naming the school drive “Mr. Pickering Drive” after him, which they commemorated with a sign.
Holly said: “There are plenty of family around to go shopping for Dadda but he likes his routines and likes to get out of the house and be independent.
“He has always had the mindset that you just have to get up and go.
“We will support him to live that life as long as we can.
“Dadda remains fit and healthy, I’ve only known him to be in hospital once in my 32 years.
“In the past couple of years his hearing has started to go but he still walks everywhere.
“It’s funny how doctors feared he would not make it into adulthood and he’s probably outlived them all.”