Celebrating at 100

PUBLISHED: 13:22 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 May 2010

Leonard Vokes looks back over 100 years

Leonard Vokes looks back over 100 years

A CHURCH service was held in Heydon on Sunday in celebration of a man who was 100 years old. Family and friends attended the thanksgiving ceremony at Holy Trinity Church for Leonard Vokes, who has lived in Heydon and Chrishall for the past 35 years. Leona

A CHURCH service was held in Heydon on Sunday in celebration of a man who was 100 years old.

Family and friends attended the thanksgiving ceremony at Holy Trinity Church for Leonard Vokes, who has lived in Heydon and Chrishall for the past 35 years.

Leonard lives at Halls Cottage with his son Peter and daughter-in-law, Lyn, but was born in Finchley, north London.

He said his family used to travel around on a motorbike and his mother and sister used to sit in a sidecar.

Leonard's passion for motorbikes grew and he used to compete in motorcycle competitions in Barnet as a young man.

At the age of 14 he left school and enrolled in a polytechnic college to study and on leaving he became a copper printer like his father.

"One didn't have a choice in those days," he said.

In 1929, Leonard married his first wife, Cissie. They married in Leeds, but set up home in Barnet and bought their first three-bedroom semi-detached house for £500.

During this time, Leonard also became an auxiliary fireman.

He said: "Before the war, we were encouraged to join the services. But I wasn't called to big fires, I was just on standby."

An event which Leonard remembers particularly well was when a Zeppelin was shot down.

"I saw a small fire in one end of the cigar shape. It came down between here and Barnet," he said.

Seven years after the Second World War came to an end, Cissie died.

But three years later, in 1955, Leonard met his second wife, Inge. They married in Hendon and bought a house in Totteridge. They lived there for about 15 years, before moving to Chrishall in 1970 and renovated a cottage.

During the 1970s, Leonard retired from his job as a copper printer and became a church warden.

"The church has always been a part of my life," he said.

In 1992, Leonard and Inge moved to Heydon, but his wife died in 2000 at 82 years old.

Since then Leonard has had the support of his carer, Meg, his daughter, Pamela, his son, Peter, his daughter-in-law, Lyn and his two grandsons - Hayden, 30, and Neil, 27.

Lyn said: "Leonard is forward thinking. He is always interested in computers and up to date with technology.

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