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Former RAF navigator from Barnet celebrates 100th birthday
A former RAF navigator and "true gentleman" from Barnet has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Harold Fishman of Harmony Close, Princes Park Avenue, received a card from the Queen on Thursday and celebrated with friends, neighbours and his family during a party with tea and dancing.
The Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Barnet were also in attendance and presented Mr Fishman, described as a “true gentleman from top to toe”, with a paperweight in the name of the borough.
Sharon Layton, PA to Sarah Clarke, chief executive of the Jewish Community Housing Association, said: “He’s a very nice and very well-liked tenant. For his age, you can sit and have a lucid conversation with him.”
Mr Fishman was born the eldest of three children, in Bethnal Green.
His family had originally lived in Hackney and as a young man he worked as a milliner.
In 1942, he began training as a navigator aboard Lancaster bombers and was posted to RAF East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, and theb South Africa for training. He later had the task of flying VIPs to Germany.
After the war, Mr Fishman settled down in Hampstead Gardens with his wife and two daughters. The family later grew to five grandchildren and six great children.
A career change during his 40s led to Mr Fishman driving black cabs, which he did until he was 75.
His wife passed away in 2005 and in 2007, he moved to Harmony Close, one of the sheltered housing properties owned by the Jewish Community Housing Association. He only gave up driving two months ago.
Mr Fishman says the secret to his long life is continuing to have the active mind that he cultivated during the war years.
He said: “Being a navigator meant you had to be completely on the ball all the time."
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