Tunstall born Reg Dean dies as Britain's oldest man
HE lived through the sinking of the Titanic, two world wars and even the moment the first aeroplane took to the skies.
Now tributes are being paid to Britain's oldest man – Stoke-on-Trent born Reg Dean – who has died at the age of 110.
Born in Tunstall on November 4, 1902, the former Army chaplain and teacher lived to see 21 different Prime Ministers and five monarchs, the advent of television, radio and the first popular telephones.
The resilient father-of-one was even around when the Wright brothers piloted the first powered plane in 1903.
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Mr Dean died on Saturday surrounded by friends at his home in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.
His 62-year-old son, Chris Dean, of Portsmouth, a conductor, believes his dad's longevity was down to his good sense of humour and belief in God.
He said: "He was a wonderfully kind and generous man. He was a member of Amnesty International and raised money for numerous charities. He was warm and kind and firmly believed you get out of life what you put into it."
Mr Dean suffered a short illness early last year, from which he never fully recovered.
His son said: "I was surprised because he was so resilient. Sadly, I didn't get to be with him at the end but he was surrounded by an army of friends who loved him.
"I will miss him dearly, he was a wonderful man and a fantastic father."
Speaking in November, Mr Dean said several rules were key to his longevity.
"These are the love of friends, doing things for joy and not prize, always looking for the best in people and not the worst, having a religion you can trust – and becoming a vegetarian all helps."
Mr Dean was ordained in the 1920s and volunteered as an Army chaplain in Burma and India during the Second World War.
He later was a teacher in Derbyshire, where he worked for 10 years, but continued his work as a minister until he retired at the age of 80.
Fascinatingly, he also credited his long life to an elixer given to him by a doctor during his time in the Far East.
He said: "The doctor told me he had concocted a drink that will make me live forever, or something like that, and would I like to take it? Well, I can't say 'no', so I drank it and here I am."
Reg became Britain's oldest man in June 2010 after the death of Stanley Lucas, 110, of Cornwall.