War veteran Ernest Horsfall will be 102-years-old on Tuesday and you can send him some birthday messages

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One of the UK’s oldest surviving servicemen, and a former Blackpool pilot, will turn 102 on Tuesday and we want you to send him some birthday cheer!

Ernest ‘Ernie’ Horsfall was due to have a party to celebrate his birthday but due to the Covid-19 lockdown this has been put on hold.

But to make sure his birthday does not go unnoticed, we are asking readers to send him some many happy returns and messages.

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And according to his friend and former serviceman Terry Cook, there maybe a few surprises for Ernie on Tuesday!

Send your messages to ErnestSend your messages to Ernest
Send your messages to Ernest

Terry said: “Although Ernest’s party has been postponed, he will still receive some very special greetings.”

Ernest, who lives in Fulwood, Preston, was working as an engineer when the Second World War broke out and the Army called him up to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

He was made Staff Sergeant and spent six-and-a-half years in the forces, something he said he “wouldn’t have missed for the world”.

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Back on Civvy Street he worked at Vauxhall Motors where he became an experimental/development engineer and later a senior manager.

In later life he developed a love of aeroplanes and clocked up 3,000 flying hours, mainly at Blackpool Airport.

He had to stand down as a Pilot In Command at the age of 93 - only because insurance companies would no longer cover him at the controls!

However he still flies with other pilots and he remains a licensed light aircraft inspector and engineer.

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Ernest was given an emotional send-off from Preston Train Station in November when he travelled to take part in the national Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. He was one of just 44 surviving Second World War veterans to do so.

What to do

Anyone who would like to send Ernest a birthday message or a digital birthday card can do so by emailing them to [email protected] and he will be able to view them.

Terry said: “The e-mail idea is a wonderful one - he’ll be very chuffed.”

We will be following up on the story to get Ernest’s reactions to all of your birthday messages!

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