Sprightly Reg is set to celebrate turning 109

Reg Dean Dalesmen
Reg Dean Dalesmen

BRITAIN’S oldest man, Reg Dean, is not planning on giving up the title any time soon.

Sprightly Reg, who is a founder member and the current president of the Belper-based Dalesmen Male Voice Choir, will celebrate his 109th birthday this Friday, November 4.

Reg Dean Dalesmen

Reg Dean Dalesmen

But the ex-teacher at Belper’s former Herbert Strutt School says his health is so good that he is aiming to reach at least the grand old age of 112!

He said: “I am very glad to be turning 109.”

The Dalesmen helped Reg celebrate his milestone with a birthday lunch at the Peveril of the Peak Hotel, near Ashbourne.

Choir members sang a few songs for him and he was given a birthday cake bearing the special numbers, 109.

Reg was a founder member of the choir when it was formed in 1987. He stills attends rehearsals and concerts when he can, but he no longer sings.

He is planning on celebrating his big day this Friday with family and friends at his home in Wirksworth.

Born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, in 1902, Reg has survived two world wars and lived under 21 British Prime Ministers.

He is almost as old as Real Madrid and Norwich City football clubs, which were both founded in 1902.

Reg, who has a 61-year-old son called Chris, and two grandchildren, became a church minister and then served as an army chaplain in Burma during World War Two. After the war he lived in Stratford-on-Avon, before moving to Derby in 1947.

He became a teacher at Herbert Strutt School in 1958, where he stayed for ten years.

Reg retired from his job as a minister at the age of 80 after serving the United Reformed Churches in Wirksworth and Matlock.

John England, who is vice-chairman of the choir, spoke of Reg earlier this year. He said: “He is a real live wire.

“He was still singing with us until a few years ago, but sadly we are no longer privileged to hear his lovely second bass voice.”

The Dalesmen perform at about 30 events per year and, in recent years, have done tours in England, Wales, Ireland and France.

It has about 65 members and its current musical director is Richard Hayward. Rehearsals take place every Monday at the Strutts Centre, on Derby Road, Belper, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

The choir also has links with the Operababes, who sang the song used by ITV used for their World Cup 2002 programming. John’s daughter, Karen England, is one of the ‘babes’.