102-year-old Ernest thanks readers for birthday messages as he celebrates milestone age with letter from the Prime Minister

A 102-year-old war veteran has thanked Gazette readers for their birthday messages after celebrating the milestone age yesterday.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 5:29 pm

Ernest ‘Ernie’ Horsfall, who has been a pilot at Blackpool Airport for more than 40 years celebrated his birthday at his home in Fulwood, Preston.

We asked readers to send him so birthday cheer due to him missing out on his planned party due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Ernest said: “I received about six pages of messages from lots of people. They’re marvellous and they were wonderful to read.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ernest celebrated his 102nd birthday today

Despite the lockdown, Ernest had a number of reasons to celebrate including receiving a letter from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson said in the letter: “I am writing to wish you a very happy 102nd birthday. What a marvellous occasion!

“I understand you will be celebrating with family and friends at Blackpool Airport and I hope you have a wonderful time remembering all your many achievements over a century, and all you have seen and experienced during this time.

“I am sorry I cannot be with you as I am sure you will have fantastic parties, but please accept my very best wishes for a very happy birthday. Have a great time!”

His friend Terry Cook arranged for the lockdown celebrations

Ernest said: “I met him in November during the Festival of Remembrance so it’s lovely to have received a letter from him.”

As well as the letter, Ernest received a cake from his former employer Vauxhall, a bottle of champagne from P&O to commemorate one of Ernest’s wartime ‘exploits’, and a picture from the RAF, the service that kindled his love of aviation.