THE year of 1914 is important to the entire country but for one particular Knutsford resident it is especially poignant.

Jack Hankins, born on February 22 1914, celebrated his centenary with family and friends at his home at Abbeyfield House, on Bexton Road, on Saturday.

The 100-year-old, Knutsford Abbeyfield Society’s oldest resident, was born in Lancaster to Edward and Henrietta, one of four boys and two girls.

Born just months before the outbreak of the war, one of Jack’s first memories was watching the troops marching to Lancaster Station, led by a military band, on their way to fight in the war.

At that time, his mother worked part-time in a munitions factory at Whitlund in Morecambe and he remembers various emergency services attending when there was a massive explosion at the factory.

Luckily, his mother was not on shift at the time.

The family moved to Preston where Jack began school at the age of four, before leaving at 14.

Upon leaving school, Jack joined the family haulage business in Walton-le-Dale and eventually began driving steam wagons with journeys to the docks in Liverpool and Hull.

He met his wife Connie in early 1939 and married in September of that year before he was called up into the Army, serving in India, Burma and Ceylan as a Sergeant in transport.

At the end of the war he was repatriated into the family business. The business was acquired shortly afterward so Jack, along with his brothers, bought a butchers business in Preston and worked there until his retirement.

Jack, a talented cricket player, and his wife Connie welcomed their only daughter, Judith, in 1948 and Jack now has two grand-daughters and two great-grandchildren.

Jack moved to Abbeyfield House in Knutsford following Connie’s death three-and-a-half years ago and decided to give up driving at the age of 98.

Ros Di Antonio, House Chairman, said: “Moving out of a family home isn’t easy but the friendliness and flexibility of Abbeyfield’s supported houses can often prove to be a very positive move.

“To quote the Abbeyfield slogan – ‘”Abbeyfield adds life to years’. And Jack wholeheartedly agrees.”

Abbeyfield is a nationwide charity founded on a core focus – to help alleviate loneliness and enhance the quality of life for older people.

Residents can live independently and two home-made meals a day are provided by the resident housekeeper.

To enquire about residency at Knutsford Abbeyfield for yourself or on behalf of an elderly relative call 01565 632 719 or email