TWO men born days apart have celebrated turning 95 with a memorable birthday party at their local Royal British Legion.
John Pirt and George Robson Miller are both long term members of the Ferryhill Station branch of the RBL, of which Mr Pirt is now the last remaining founding member.
The pair meet weekly every Thursday, as they have done for the last 50 years, and although they’ve led very different lives, they still enjoy a drink together.
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John Pirt, born in Ferryhill, worked in Mainsforth Colliery from the age of 14 to its closure in 1968.
“I can still remember my father taking me down,” he said, “the boss took me into his office and I told him I wanted a job and he said ok start Monday, and that was it. We started work at 3am and by the third week I was down the pit, I was still very young and that was it for 32 years until it closed.”
Mr Pirt then moved on to Blackhall Colliery working the coal seams under the North Sea for another 12 years.
The 95-year-old grandfather still lives in Ferryhill and has won awards for being a good neighbour.
He added: “I still go shopping for a lady down the street, she’s 90 so I ring her and make sure she has what she needs.”
Mr Robson Miller, originally from Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, met Mr Pirt through the RBL of which he has been a member since 1939.
He joined the Gordon Highlanders two days after his 17th birthday in 1939 before joining the Maritime Royal Artillery where he served as a marine gunner on the highly dangerous Atlantic Convoys until the end of 1943.
He then went on to serve as a gunner of the SS Ohio in August 1942 in the attempt to save Malta from surrender.
Mr Robson Miller has been awarded the Atlantic Star, the Canal Zone and the Arabian Peninsula Bars among other medals and after leaving the forces in 1968 as a Sergeant Corporal, he became an active member of the Ferryhill Station branch of the RBL where he still proudly holds the position of chairman.
Legion vice chairman Gerald Slack, said: “The two birthday boys celebrated their 95th birthday with family and friends at what was a memorable party for us all. We are looking forward to their 100th party now.”