Centenarian Jack Annall was delighted with his birthday celebrations (Picture: SWNS)
A widower spent his 101st birthday opening thousands of cards sent by strangers across the world.
RAF veteran Jack Annall was stunned to receive more than 5,000 cards from people he’s never met.
Staff at Sandholme Fold care home in Halifax spent hours turning rooms and corridors into an Aladdin’s cave of cards and presents.
He said: ‘Today has been absolutely incredible, the atmosphere has been amazing. I was so overwhelmed and touched that these people thought of me.
‘It’s just so unbelievable, I don’t know how this has all been done.
‘I’m over the moon. I just want to thank everyone across the world and the country for making the day so special.
‘It will take me 101 years to read all of the cards.’
The centenarian was also treated to a visit from the air force, the town’s mayor and a brass band concert.
Jack wipes away a tear of joy over the volume of cards he received (Picture: SWNS)
101 not out – he credits his old age to eating good food (Picture: SWNS)
He has no family who live in the UK and was downbeat at not being able to celebrate with his daughter Mary, who lives in Australia.
In an attempt to cheer him up, the manager of the care home where he’s lived since 2016, Vicky Gudgin, appealed on social media for birthday cards to be sent in.
The imaginative idea struck a chord and he received cards from thousands of people in Halifax and beyond.
Some even offered their professional services, such as balloon makers and entertainers, and parents said they would come along with their children to sing.
He was stunned how so many people heard about his birthday and why they sent cards (Picture: SWNS)
Care home staff spent hours carefully arranging them all (Picture: SWNS)
But Vicky said Jack ‘wouldn’t want a big party’ and he even turned down a glass of prosecco for his favourite tipple crisp pear cider.
She said: ‘I knew he was feeling a little bit down about not being able to see his daughter and I thought, what can we do to lift his spirits?
’I thought, let’s get the community involved and the extent it has is incredible.’
Jack was born in Carlisle, Cumbria, and lived in Bradford with his late wife May.
He served as a joiner in the RAF for more than four years during the Second World War as part of Number 617 Squadron and worked on Mosquito planes.
Jack joked he’ll need another 101 years to read all the messages (Picture: SWNS)
He’s been a resident at the care home for the last five years (Picture: SWNS)
Their daughter, Mary, now lives in Sydney and has not been to visit for more than three years in part due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She gave him a special call yesterday and said: ‘Dad is an amazing man who has always supported those close to him.’
Jack survived two brushes with Covid and said good food was his secret to living so long.
Care home staff said he enjoys painting, classical music, brass bands and speaking with his family.
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