Tuesday 23 July – Ben Raymond turns 108. He is the third oldest man in the UK, the oldest in Wandsworth and in London. Ben came to live at Nightingale House in Clapham, South West London, with his wife when they were both over 100 in 2012. He has lived a full and varied life and still enjoys life in the home. Having only given up his pipe and his regular tot of whisky recently, maybe that is his secret to longevity.

Ben was born in the Bermondsey, South East London in 1911, the youngest of four children. He enjoyed dancing and met his wife Millie at a dance academy in Piccadilly. They married in 1937. He served in the Army in the Medical Corp and was based at Magdalen College, Oxford. His son was born in 1942 during the war. Through his family connections he learnt a trade as a hairdresser and not long after opened a salon in Marble Arch. He cut the hair of many aristocracy and famous people. He cut the hair of Charlton Heston before he filmed Ben Hur and dyed the hair of the Crown Prince of Arabia in the 1950’s.

He still enjoys his Jewish practice and has regularly attended the synagogue in the home. He hopes to celebrate birthday with a bit of belly dancing as he has done every year since he arrived at Nightingale House in 2012. Family and friends attended for some cake and a little party.