From singing in front of royalty to serving his country in the Second World War, Arnold Pontefract had plenty of tales to tell during his 100th birthday celebrations.

Mr Pontefract turned 100 on January 14 this year with a birthday card from King Charles III and Queen Camilla and celebrations continued this week.

Mr Pontefract, of Horwich, is originally from Sheffield,  although he describes himself as having been born in Sheffield, USA - upstairs in the attic. 

He joined the Navy during the Second World War, serving between 1942 and 1945. 

Mr Pontefract moved to Bolton to work as an engineer. 

The Bolton News: In the RAF, at only 19In the RAF, at only 19 (Image: Public)

This week, he met with friends at the Bee Hive in Horwich to mark his 100th.

Joining him was chairman Ian Thomas and president Oliver Johnson of the Bolton Royal Naval Association.

Mr Pontefract told The Bolton News:  “I survived. I expected the worst and the worst things happened, but you were okay. 

"I became the squadron chief of the Naval Air Fighting Development Unit, using engineering skills I had picked up as an apprentice.”

He also worked as an engineer on armaments on warships.

The Bolton News: At his birthday meal at the Bee HiveAt his birthday meal at the Bee Hive (Image: Newsquest)

He said: “There was lots and lots of engineering, as opposed to the old cannons!”

Mr Pontefract, who lives in Claypool, added:  “I applied for three jobs, as jobs were hard to come by. 

"The first one was too far away and the second one wasn't paying enough money. 

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"The third was at Hick Hargreaves - I couldn't get there fast enough. For them I was inventing things, some of the things I invented… I absolutely enjoyed, it was a good company to work for. 

"I enjoyed it so much, that I outstripped the maintenance foreman and became my own boss, I simply loved it.” 

The Bolton News: His card from the King and QueenHis card from the King and Queen (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “I married Sylvia and we were a bit older, so we never had children. She had three sons so the family was complete, we became chief babysitters, which I liked anyway. 

"I had a full life.” 

Speaking about his card from King Charles III, Mr Pontefract said: “(I am) proud and surprised - I never gave him my name and address." 

He recounted the tale where he sung a solo in front of King George VI, aged only 13.

He said: "I sung The Trout. I was supposed to sing the national anthem, but my music teacher at school changed it.

The Bolton News: The message inside the cardThe message inside the card (Image: Newsquest)

“Being a royalist, I wanted to sing the anthem, but then it was decided by him that I was to sing The Trout.

“My music teacher came out smiling and told me ‘you’ve got the best’. He said that when you sing the anthem, they will all join in, but when you sing The Trout, you will hear a penny drop as they will be listening to your voice – and he was right.”

He gave the secret to his longevity, saying: “Everything within reason. Whether eating, sleeping, working – everything within reason.”

Kevin Bennett said: “I have known him for 50 years, we were neighbours when I got married, we lived in Wallsuches and have kept in touch."

The Bolton News: Arnold PontefractArnold Pontefract (Image: Public)

“It’s marvellous that he has (reached 100), he is made of strong stuff.

“He has a marvellous, fantastic memory, and a highly skilled man. We just need to know the secret of it!”

Arnold’s current neighbour, Norman Barnett, said: “We have been neighbours for 32 years, we were both in the forces.

“I am thrilled to bits for him, absolutely over the moon for him. He has had a life to look back on.”

Ian Thomas of the Bolton Royal Naval Association said: “It’s not very often in this day and age that you meet a Second World War veteran.

“The stories about his time in the navy are very different to ours. I have only heard half of them so far, but I am looking forward to hearing the rest if we can get him down to a meeting.”