Aldingbourne WW2 veteran and former council chairman celebrates 100th birthday
Second World War veteran and former chairman of Aldingbourne Parish Council William ‘Bill’ Collins has celebrated his 100th birthday.
The Woodgate resident is celebrating his centenary with family and close friends throughout the week to comply with Covid restrictions.
Born on June 30, 1921, in London, Bill was deployed to Burma and India during the Second World War.
After the war he worked at Chiswick Works, overhauling and stripping down buses on the mechanical side of the process.
He also became a union representative and was branch secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union for over 25 years.
Bill relocated to Woodgate with his late wife Gladys, known as Glad, and her mum from London over 30 years ago, after regular trips to the seaside from London and falling in love with the area.
The couple became synonymous with Woodgate and the community; they joined local snooker, bowls and rifle clubs and become prominent members of Aldingbourne Parish Council – with Bill serving as chairman.
They also created the local horticultural society.
Bill has two sons, Doug and Bob, four grandchildren, Stuart, Paul, Jodie and Nicola, and five great-grandchildren, Harley, Escher, Alice, Ben and Daniel.
Stuart, Lisa and Harley live round the corner from Bill, and regularly spend time with him watching his beloved Fulham on the television.
Great-grandson Harley said: “He amazes us every single day, as he is still a very astute and active man.
“He is dearly loved by all who know him, both family and friends.
“His presence lights up any room and is a true inspiration to us all; we’re all honoured to him; and he will continue to be cherished by everyone for years to come!”
When asked what the secret to living too the age of 100, Bill said he was simply ‘too wicked to die’.
He also added that his late wife Glad told him, in no uncertain terms before her passing ten years ago, that he was not to follow her in a hurry.