A MAN who has lived in Carterton almost 100 years had the place of honour at this year’s switching-on of the town’s Christmas lights.

Jack Timms, born on December 11, 1908, was still fit and healthy enough to climb the stairs to the balcony on the town hall and join mayor, Maxine Crossland, for the festive illuminations.

She said: “It was lovely for him to come along. We wanted to do something different this year, and he is a special Carterton resident. We sang ‘Happy birthday next week Jack’.”

Mr Timms said: “It was a real honour. I would never have wanted to live anywhere other than Carterton. It’s been my home almost all my life.”

He is now eagerly anticipating another special event, receiving his centenary congratulation card from the Queen on Thursday.

He was born in neighbouring Shilton, but six months later, his father, John, became one of the first settlers in a homestead scheme in the hamlet of Carterton.

He bought a plot of land to grow the tomatoes, which soon gave the small community a reputation.

He has also lived virtually all his life in the same family home, in Shilton Road.

“I am the oldest survivor from those early days of Carterton,” he says. “So much has changed, the town has just kept growing.

“I can still remember the days when my father took his tomatoes and lettuces to Fairford market.”

Mr Timms met his wife, Peggy, 87, when working for the War Office during the Second World War, with the installation of wireless and radar masts up to 240 feet high.

The work brought him to her father’s farm, in Dumfries.

They have a large family, including seven great-grandchildren, and plan a big family and friends get-together for his 100th birthday in Carterton’s Browne’s Hall on Saturday.

Mrs Timms said: “Jack is well-known for his sense of humour and the tricks he gets up to. The tales have become part of the family.”

His fitness kept him going as a local football linesman until he was 71.

He still gets about without the use of a wheelchair.

On Friday, he was joined by his wife and some family members at the town hall, and afterwards to browse around the Christmas fair in Alvescot Road.

The theme of this year’s festive event, which included carols played by Witney Town Band, was of Victorian times – just a few years older than Carterton’s special centenarian.