Barley’s steady Eddie celebrates his 100th birthday

Eddie at 100. Picture:

Eddie at 100. Picture: - Credit:

A man who was born in Barley has revealed his secret to long life, after celebrating his 100th birthday.

Eddie at 100. Picture:

Eddie at 100. Picture: - Credit:

Edgar Slater or “Eddie” to his family – was born in Barley a century ago last Saturday. He was the eldest boy of nine children and left school at 14 to work at a poultry farm before volunteering for the army in 1937.

In the second world war, he served with the Essex regiment and fought in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt.

He was badly injured in Libya, so was sent away from the front line to Cairo.

There they put him to work making decoy buildings to fool the German forces that an area was more populated than it looked.

Eddie at 100. Picture:

Eddie at 100. Picture: - Credit:

His daughter Angela said: “Although there was a war going on, he used to mix with the local people.”

After the war, he met and married Barbara – known to most as Joan – and settled in Welwyn.

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The couple had Angela and a second daughter, Carol – and now Eddie is the proud grandfather of two and a great-grandfather to another two. Sadly, Joan passed away in 1988.

Eddie still lives in the same house he and Joan moved into back in 1947, where Angela recalls “he worked every hour he could work.”

He turned his practical skills designing and building welding machines for an engineering company.

“Anything that is practical he can turn his hand to.

“He wasn’t formally qualified as an engineer, but he can do all of it,” said Angela.

The family home was the first one on the street to have a car and a television.

The entire street gathered in his and Joan’s home to watch the Queen’s coronation in 1953 on the brand-new telly.

“He’s quite a determined person and he realised that the way to get things is through hard work,” said Angela.

When he’s not partying he stays active, and still grows tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers with the help of his nephew Matthew.

“He’s got the right attitude to life,” said Angela. “He’s quite cheerful, and always sees the funny side.”

“His favourite expressions are ‘keep smiling’ and ‘I count my blessings’.

Asked what is his secret to long life, Angela said: “Being positive and always staying cheerful – plus a drop of Guinness!”