A pillar of the community has celebrated his 100th birthday, following the family tradition. 

William Arthur Fearnley, better known as Bill, turned 100 on March 22 this year. 

Now living in Blackrod, Bill was born and raised in Horwich with his brother and two sisters. 

He worked at the town's Loco Works as a fitter and also ran a shop on Lee Lane and then the chip shop in Blackrod with his wife, Joyce Fearnley. 

He had one daughter with his first wife, and has five step children from his marriage with Joyce, making for 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. 

The Bolton News: Bill and his wife, Joyce, with his royal cardBill and his wife, Joyce, with his royal card (Image: Family)

The youngest member of the family, baby Christopher, is only two weeks old, almost exactly 100 years after Bill. 

Blackrod House Care Home, where he now lives, held a party for him on the day. His family, the Mayor of Blackrod, staff and residents attended, with cake, food and a singer. 

Rosemary Isbister, his step-daughter, said: "He was originally from Horwich and had a shop in Lee Lane when he was younger, and then he ran the chippy in Blackrod, next to the butchers. 

"He also used to work at Horwich Loco Works for British Rail. 

"He has had a good day, plenty of presents, lots of chocolate and sweets - his main hobby! He always used to say 'do you think I'll make 100' but now he has got here, he says 'you don't want to get this old!'" 

The Bolton News: Bill, second from right, playing with the Rivington and Adlington BandBill, second from right, playing with the Rivington and Adlington Band (Image: Family)

On turning 100, Bill said: "It doesn't feel any different!"  

He also played in the Rivington and Adlington Brass Band, in which he played the Cornet. 

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Despite reaching the landmark, he is not the first in his family to have done so. His sister died at 102, while his other sister is still alive at 95. 

So, what is the family recipe for achieving such longevity? 

The Bolton News: With baby Christopher, only two weeks oldWith baby Christopher, only two weeks old (Image: Family)

"Fresh Bolton air and the occasional whiskey", according to Rosemary, or in Bill's case, a "cherry brandy". 

Rosemary also thanked Geraldine from the home for her work in organising the party, as well as the other staff. 

Andrew Holden, his grandson, said: "It is an amazing thing really, when you step back, you think since 1924, he has lived through so much. 

"I am really pleased he has had a nice day.

The Bolton News: Playing the CornetPlaying the Cornet (Image: Family)

"(The card from the King) is a lovely touch. You don't often get to see one, you see them in pictures but never in person." 

John Price, Mayor of Blackrod, said: "It's such a privilege, a lovely, lovely man and such a nice family, so caring, it was an absolute pleasure. 

"Bill and his wife used to run the local chip shop many years ago, I at times used that so we would have met, without realising it. 

"It was just an absolute delight, it's such a lovely part of the job, going and celebrating with people."