Ex-Brakes player and Lillington man is a centenarian - A happy 100th to Ernest Stephens

Earnest Stephens
Earnest Stephens

Ernest Stephens turned 100 over the weekend and has shared his memories of the Cubbington and Lillington area where he has lived for most of his life.

Ernie, as he is better known, was born on the first Armistice Day (November 11, 1919) at High View Road in Cubbington.

He was the son of a First World War veteran and one of six children,

He started school at Lillington Infants and at the age of 14 started work at Alvis in Coventry, cycling there from Cubbington in all weathers.

He later worked for Lockheed in Leamington for 40 years until his retirement in 1981.

A former footballer for The Brakes when they played at the old Windmill Ground, Ernie was not called up to fight in the Second World War, instead serving the war effort with his skills as an engineer.

He married Gwen in 1945 and the couple and their children Raymond and Christine moved to Kinross Road in Lillington in 1952 where Ernie, a keen sports fan with a sharp mind, continues to live independently and on his own after his wife died in 1988.

During his time living in Lillington Ernie remembers seeing Sir Alan Cobham's famous Flying Circus over and on the fields that now form Telford School and Kinross Road in the early 1930s.

He knew the McGregor brothers, who owned all the land that is now New Cubbington and North Lillington.

He remembers them getting an agreement that all new roads on their land should bear names with a Scottish connection such as Braemar Road and later the younger brother having his love for horse racing recognised through the roads off Parklands Avenue being named after racecourses.

He also remembers houses in Kinross Road being hit by stray bombs during the Second World War.

Ernie has two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren - the youngest of whom was born just one week before his 100th birthday.

He has enjoyed family holidays on the South Coast - the most recent when he was 95.

He still loves his garden having won winning several 'best front garden' prizes from Leamington Town Council when he was younger.

Now, using his smaller mobility scooter, he manages 'a spot of weeding, planting and watering',

He also loves attending his bird-feeders.

Ernie's secret to his a long life is "fresh air and a daily glass of red wine".

To mark their father's birthday milestone, Raymond and Christine arranged a birthday celebration at Leamington Golf Club for 65 guests where he proudly displayed his birthday card from the Queen.

Red wine was on the menu.