Special delivery for William

William Johnston with Mayor Peter Cowey.
William Johnston with Mayor Peter Cowey.

FORMER Postmaster William Johnston received a special delivery as he celebrated his 100th birthday.

For the centenarian, who lives in Ponteland, was sent a presentation bottle of his favourite tipple signed by staff from the distillery which makes it.

He believes one of the secrets to his long life is his nightly thimble-full of Glenmorangie and when daughter Liz Robson contacted the makers in Ross-shire to order a bottle and told them of her father’s passion for the malt whisky, the company made a special effort.

As well as his card from the Queen, the father-of-two also received a bouquet of flowers from the Post Office, which still remembered him 38 years after his retirement.

Mr Johnston spent the first 19 years of his life in Gretna Green. His first job was at the local pharmacy, before he joined the Post Office, working in Preston and Carlisle.

It was at Carlisle where he met his wife Mavis, a telephonist, and they married in 1938.

Mr Johnston served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and on his return he took his first Postmaster position at Appleby, followed by moves to Billingham and then Bridlington, where he retired in 1973.

He moved to Ponteland to be near his daughter after his wife died in 1996. He lived in Athol House until last year when he moved to Grange Lea, where he enjoyed his birthday celebration on Sunday.

He was joined by his two daughters — the other, Eileen, lives in Surrey — and his three grandchildren, two of his four great-grandchildren and friends.

Mrs Robson said: “It was a lovely day — it was great to see so many friends there and all the family who had travelled up from Surrey and Leamington Spa. There was also a collection by Athol House and we’re going to install a seat in the garden with a plaque commemorating dad’s 100th birthday.”

Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey and Mayoress Sheila also joined the celebrations.

Coun Cowey said: “William had a great day and it was a pleasure to join him and his family and friends to mark his centenary and add our own congratulations.”