Morecambe great grandad celebrates 100th birthday with family party, months after surviving Covid

A great grandad was surrounded by family and friends for his 100th birthday today, months after it was feared he wouldn't recover from Covid-19

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 4:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 9:20 am
Tom Hanley with his birthday card from the Queen.

As we reported on Tuesday, Tom Hanley turned 100 today, May 19.

And thanks to the relaxation of government lockdown restrictions recently, he was able to be visited by his family and friends at Bare Hall, the residential home he has lived in for the last two-and-a-half years.

In December 2020 Tom tested positive for Covid 19, and struggled with the virus, particularly with his breathing which also led to him having great difficulty speaking.

Tom Hanley celebrates his 100th birthday with his family.

His family was told by a doctor that he was unlikely to recover and that they should prepare for the end of his life.

However, Tom proved to be a fighter, and a couple of months on he recovered from the virus, and his delighted family were able to hold a special celebration for him for his 100th birthday.

They said: "The family would like to thank Bare Hall and their amazing staff for their wonderful care of Tom and for all the effort they went to putting his 100th birthday party together, making it a truly memorable day for us all.”

Tom was born at home in Seaton, a village near Workington in Cumbria. He went to school in Gilcrux, a small village near Maryport in Cumbria.

Tom Hanley.

On leaving school, Tom worked on a farm for two years, before starting work at Maryport Railway Station as a junior porter.

During the war he volunteered for the RAF, doing his basic training at White Lund in Morecambe.

After training he was posted to Lincolnshire and joined RAF No6 Squadron. He was posted to Shandur, Egypt in 1942 and was there for more than two years before being posted to Italy, onto Yugoslavia and finally to Palestine before returning to England.

On his return Tom went back to work as a passenger guard on the railway.

Tom Hanley celebrates his 100th birthday with a party at Bare Hall residential home.

In September 1948 Tom married Norah, and the couple had two children, Allan (who is now 71 and lives in Morecambe) and Richard (who is 68 and now lives in Cornwall). Norah passed away in 2002.

The family moved to Morecambe in 1964, and Tom worked for many years for British Rail working at Lancaster, Port of Heysham, Morecambe and Carnforth Stations.

He was secretary of the Royal British Legion branch in Morecambe from 1966 for 23 years. He was also chairman and life president of the county, a life member of the national Royal British Legion, chairman of the North West Lancashire District Group and a gold badge holder.

For more than 30 years Tom was the local poppy organiser in Morecambe too, and in 1992 he featured in The Visitor after being given a Local Hero award for his work with the Poppy Appeal.

Tom was also secretary of Morecambe Cricket Club from 1981 to 1999.

Tom has two grandchildren, Nicola, 36, and James, 34, and three great grandchildren - a great grandson Jacob, 13, and two great granddaughters, Georgie and April, who were born two days apart during lockdown last October and who Tom met recently for the first time through the safety of a perspex screen.