A CENTENARIAN and founder member of a Hartlepool rugby club has celebrated his landmark birthday surrounded by loving family and friends.
Samuel Lindley, known as Sam, put his longevity down to a calm demeanour, saying sorry when necessary, a belief in God and sharing his life with his late wife Emma, to whom he was married for more than 68 years.
The 100-year-old celebrated his birthday at the Staincliffe Hotel, Seaton Carew, with 30 guests from as far afield as Cumbria and Hertfordshire.
Sam, a retired engineer and teacher, was a founder member of the Technical Day School Old Boys (TDSOB) rugby club, while Emma used to take the muddy strips home to scrub and wash.
The dad-of-two, who has lived in Hartlepool for more than 60 years, was born on February 11, 1913 in Little Lever, Lancashire.
After leaving school in 1928 aged 15, he gained an apprenticeship as an electrical engineer with the Bleachers Association Central Workshops, in Bolton.
Sam also spent time with North British Rayon Ltd, in Jedburgh, and Fairey Aviation, in Stockport, before he secured a job in 1937 as a head electrical engineer at Little Lever’s Ladyshore Colliery & Farnworth Bridge pumping station.
He stayed there until 1949 when he was accepted on to a teacher trainer course at Bolton College and he also became a member of the auxiliary fire brigade during the Second World War.
Sam married the love of his life Emma, nee Fox, from Prestolee, on September 11, 1937, and the pair moved to Hartlepool in 1951, where Sam had come to teach at the Technical Day School, in Lauder Street. Popular Sam, who enjoyed sea fishing from town beaches and the Heugh Breakwater on the Headland, also taught nightclasses.
He taught at the Technical Day School until 1973 before moving to High Tunstall School, where he retired in 1978 after a 28-year teaching career.
Sam and Emma had been married for more than 68 years when she passed away, aged 93, in February 2006.
Sam, who enjoyed dances, playing tennis and going on holidays as a young man, said: “The secret of my longevity is a calm demeanour, considered actions and saying sorry when necessary, a belief in God and sharing my life with a loving and considerate Emma.”
Sam and Emma had two children, Philip and Ruth, and three grandchildren, Jonathan, Jennifer and Peter.
Ruth, a retired teacher from Seaton Carew, said: “Mum and dad were very happily married and supported one another and never had an argument.”
Sam hosted his birthday party at the Staincliffe Hotel and among the guests were several second cousins, nephews and friends who had travelled from Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Swaledale and Hertfordshire.
He now lives at Stichell House Care Home, Greatham, and his family say care is “second to none”.