Tunstall-born Reg Dean, 110, says secret drink helped him become Britain's oldest man
BRITAIN's oldest man – who lived through the sinking of the Titanic and two world wars – has put the secret of his great age down to a mystery potion a doctor gave him in India.
Tunstall-born Reg Dean turned 110 yesterday – and vowed to still be around for his 115th birthday.
But while crediting the elixir he took as a young man working as an Army chaplain in the sub-continent, he also believes more traditional blessings are also behind his longevity.
Reg said: "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."
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The former teacher and church minister was born on November 4, 1902, and has now collected seven telegrams from the Queen.
Becoming the country's oldest man on the death of 110-year-old Stanley Lucas, from Cornwall, two years ago, he has lived to see 21 Prime Ministers and five monarchs – and was even around when the Wright brothers piloted the first powered plane in 1903.
Reg can still remember hearing about the Titanic disaster as a 10-year-old on his uncle's farm in Stoke-on-Trent.
He also recalls how, before Tarmac, roads were little more than dust heaps.
But on the mystery potion he said: "The doctor told me he had concocted a drink that will make me live for ever, or something like that, and would I like to take it? 'Well I'm very naive, I can't say no, so I drank it and here I am."
The three-times married minister, who now lives in a care home in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, has one son and two grandchildren.
He was ordained in the 1920s and volunteered as an Army chaplain in Burma and India during the Second World War.
In 1958, Mr Dean became a teacher and later served as minister at the United Reformed Churches before retiring 29 years ago, aged 80.
The elixir aside, his 62-year-old son Chris, of Portsmouth, believes his longevity is all down to his good sense of humour and God.
He said: "His favourite saying is 'I'm under the sentence of death but I'm going to take a long time to go'.
"The doctors said that for a 110-year-old he has the most amazingly strong heart and lungs."
Reg received telegrams to mark his 100th and 105th birthdays and one every year since.
The world's oldest man, aged 115, is Jiroemon Kimura from Japan.