Former greengrocer from Hellesdon to celebrate 100th birthday

Billy(Ernest) Billington who is celebrating his 100th birthday with his great grand daughter Brooke,

Billy(Ernest) Billington who is celebrating his 100th birthday with his great grand daughter Brooke, grand daughter Amanda daughter Carole and step grand daughter Lauren.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A man who will celebrate his 100th birthday this week said the secret to a long life is to work hard.

Billy Billington, who was born in Sheringham, will celebrate his 100th birthday on Thursday.

He left school when he was 11-years-old to work with his father in the family greengrocers on Sheringham high street before he spent five years in the Royal Artillery.

The great-grandfather met his wife, Hilda, who worked as a nanny, when he was working in Sheringham. The couple married on March 17, 1936 at City Hall.

'I came from work, we got married and then I went back to work in the afternoon,' he said.

Mr Billington moved to Norwich when he was 26 to work as a bus conductor.

'I didn't want to work for my dad any more because he was only paying me half a crown a week.'

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The grandfather of nine said one of his greatest achievements was buying his bungalow in Hellesdon for £450 in 1935 – and he still lives there today.

'I don't drink and I don't smoke. I have worked hard all of my life,' he added.

When he was not working, Mr Billington enjoyed family holidays at Butlins at Clacton with his wife and their three children Barrie, 68, Graham, 65, and Carole, 48.

After working hard all of his life, Mr Billington, who has two great grandchildren, left his job as a caretaker at Hellesdon Community Centre and retired when he was 87.

His daughter, Carole Clark, said: 'Everyone knows him because he speaks to children and their parents as they walk to school.'

Mr Billington will celebrate his special day by eating his favourite meal – fish and chips – with his family and friends at Fish's restaurant in Hellesdon.

Do you know someone who is celebrating their 100th birthday? Contact Lucy Wright on 01603 772439 or alternatively email