Len Burton celebrates 99th birthday

'Just keep moving', that's some of the advice Len has when he thinks about how to reach 99 years old.

Celebrating his 99th birthday, Len reflected on how things have changed over the years.

Len was born on November 14, 1922, and has spent the majority of his life living in Forbes.

He celebrated his birthday at a small party with several friends on Saturday, November 13.

Len was one of ten children, with four brothers and five sisters.

Len said it's been very good to reach 99 years and has had a good life up until now, but doesn't know what the future will bring.

Looking back at his life, Len attributes some of the reasons to his long was moderation, particularly in drinking.

"I never went to a hotel until I was 19 and I had one drink of beer, and I never ever drink beer and never smoked," he said.

After a second thought, Len admitted he had smoked once, when his mates went down to a park and smoked cigars.

Len said he didn't get far smoking that cigar, before it made him sick.

"I didn't have much of it but that was it, I have never had another smoke in all the years I've been alive."

While he never smoked again, Len said he did have the occasional drink throughout his life, but stuck to drinking only one beer when going out.

Len said he usually mixed a beer with coca cola when he did have the rare drink.

"I've always said that if you stop, you die and I've never been one to stop."

Len worked for 34 years in telecoms doing line work along with several other technicians and owned several show and jumping horses.

These days, Len said he spends a lot of his days tinkering in his tool shed.

"I just have a go at anything in there, it doesn't matter what it is i'll have a go at it.

"If it don't turn out any good, well I put it out behind the shed and pick something else to keep going with."

Len said that when he sold his little farm just out of town the first thing he told his wife that he wanted to do at their house was to put up a shed.

Len said he does also like pulling things apart to see how they work and then trying to put them back together.

Mostly he can get the electrical and machinery stuff to work again after taking them apart.

"I couldn't have had a better life if I wanted to," he said.

Among the things Len said helped him to have a good life was his former neighbour and one of his best friends Sharon.

Len said they regularly had a coffee once a week with Sharon, even though never even really liked coffee, with creaming soda being his preferred drink.

On looking back at some of the floods he has seen, Len said it never gets better for people, but it does have some perks.

"The longest holiday I have ever had in my life was six weeks when I got caught in a flood.

"I went for a fortnight to Coff's Harbour, when I decided to come home it flooded," Len said.

Len said the floods never get better because the country has been changed and is so different from when he was young.

Part of these changes include people putting up banks which changes the course of the floods or things like the footbridge at Johnny Woods Crossing being removed.

"I have been through every flood that's been in Forbes. I have had to go through floodwater with my wife and two.little kids in a bloody horse and cart through four foot of water," Len said.

In looking forward to the next 12 months, Len said he will prepare for his 100th birthday.

"I don't know what's going to be in the next 12 months but I hope it's going to be as good as the last [12 months]," Len said.

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