Newport pair celebrate 100 years
11:38am Sunday 27th January 2013 in News
A HUNDRED years ago, a baby called Frederick Thomas James was born at number two on a Newport street.
This week, after spells of living in the Gaer and Malpas, he is celebrating a century back where it all began.
A few doors down from his childhood home on Capel Crescent, Tom as he is known to family and friends, celebrated reaching his 100th birthday with them at the nursing home there.
"It was a logical step, he wanted to go back where he was born," said son Haydn, 68.
Mr James and his father, also Tom, were coal and demolition merchants.
However, tragedy struck in the First World War when Tom senior was shot and died from his wounds while in his forties.
Mr James' family say he followed in his father's footsteps and is committed to hard work.
In the Second World War, he was a shot blaster and metal sprayer at Scott's Engineers, Newport, sometimes working for up to 21 hours at a time on ship boilers.
He ran his father's demolition business for a few years and in the fifties worked for another Newport firm, drinks provider Vile Brothers as a sales representative.
He worked in the stores at Llanwern for a time, before deciding to earn extra money by running his own minibus company, Cresta Coach Hire. Mr James stopped work at the age of 65, but not for long, as he came out of retirement to work for Capital Coaches in Cwmbran on a part-time basis until he was forced to give up because of ill-health at the age of 81.
For another 13 years, he continued driving his Subaru Impreza around Newport until he moved into Capel Grange nursing home two years ago.
One of four children, his 95-year-old sister Lilla Tutton lives in Maesglas and celebrated the milestone with Mr James' son and other family members on Friday with a party.
Haydn James said: "He likes a bit of fun despite his age, we have a laugh, but if somebody upsets him he is the first to tell them!"
Mr James his wife Nancy married in 1939 at St Paul's Church, Newport.
They had two children, but sadly lost their young daughter Barbara to ill health in 1947.
Another Newport centenarian
NEWPORT's Connie Barker also celebrated turning 100 on Friday.
Miss Barker, who has lived at the Parklands Care Home since 2006 celebrated the milestone in style with a singer belting out hits from icons such as Frank Sinatra and a bouquet of flowers from the Mayor of Newport.
Miss Barker moved to the city 25 years ago to be near her sister Jean, after growing up in Sheffield. During the war, Connie worked as a nurse for servicemen in Abergavenny.
As well as the entertainment and a cake, Miss Barker celebrated her special day with a card from Her Majesty the Queen.