Dozens of residents braved Storm Franklin to celebrate the 101st birthday of Talgarth legend John Gwynne.

The RAF veteran celebrated the incredible birthday at Talgarth Church Hall on Sunday, February 20, despite the harsh wind and lashing rain.

Family, friends and the community were invited to join John for tea, cakes and a chat as part of the celebratory community afternoon tea.

Daughter Helen Colbert, who also lives locally, said: “It was full with people and dad had a great time. He’s 101 but he greeted everybody at the door - he didn’t sit down for two and a half hours.

“He was overwhelmed with how many people were there, he’s been inundated with cards and gifts again. Of course last year we couldn’t have a party because of the restrictions, but he walked up the war memorial last year and everyone clapped him in the street, but this year he wanted to thank the community for wishing him well last year and he wanted to see everybody and chat to people.”

In February last year, Mr Gwynne was touched as people lined the streets to clap him on his 100th birthday.

The popular Talgarth resident, who was 21 when he joined the RAF during World War II, last year received cards from both Queen Elizabeth and Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones for his 100th birthday.

Helen said: “It was really good - the weather was horrendous, as it was last year I hasten to add, so no change there but when I suggested that maybe we did something in the summer he said ‘no, the moment is gone then Helen - we have to have it on my birthday’ so he was thrilled.

“It was lovely and we decorated the hall in yellow and green to make it look really spring-like and it was a really good community event.”

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Les Gwynne, John’s son, leads birthday tributes and to his father

Helen added that her father, who has lived in Talgarth “all his life” didn’t stop smiling throughout the day and that “he was just really delighted with the whole thing”.

The former RAF dispatch rider attributes his long life to hard work as he retired at the age of 81 after running J Gwynne and Sons in Talgarth until 2001, when he sold it to the Co-op.

The well-known businessman and former town councillor was joined by Helen and his son Leslie Gwynne, as well as his younger brother and sister, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mr Gwynne still enjoys walking to Talgarth Football Club - of which he is a life-long president - to watch all their home game.

Helen said: “I was thrilled for him really, delighted that people had made the effort to show their love for him. He’s really well respected in the town because he’s been a businessman here all his life so he’s really well-known.

“He was on the town council for 50 years, he still walks down to the Talgarth Football Club and watches every home game, he walks down there himself if its a fine day, he walks there.”

Talgarth County Councillor William Powell, who joined the event, said: “Storm Franklin may have been roaring outside, with torrential rain but it didn’t deter family and friends from near and far from joining John’s fantastic 101st birthday celebration on Sunday in Talgarth Church Hall.

“John Hugo Gwynne is literally Talgarth’s senior citizen and favourite son and, as our town centre shop-keeper over many decades, John is synonymous with Talgarth.

“Dozens of people locally owe their first employment to John and his family over many years. Also his loyal support for Talgarth Town FC has led to him being Life President.

“John’s experience as an RAF veteran in the shattered ruins of Berlin in 1945 is perhaps less well-known, as is the fact that he saw the horrors of Belsen, only days after the camp’s liberation. In these turbulent days, John’s experience in the ‘University of life’ has lessons for all of us.

“More than anything else, John is a kind, wise man, much loved in our town, and we wish him well.”