Eastbourne man celebrates turning 100 with 'an iron will and grim determination'

A man from Eastbourne has turned 100 and revealed that despite a lifetime by the seaside, he's never liked the beach.

Ron Snatt grew up in Ashford Road until it was bombed during the war and he was forced to move near the Seaside Recreation Ground in Whitley Road.

At the age of 16 he joined local government in the Borough Treasurer's Department for £45 per annum until he served in the Royal Navy from 1941-46.

He said, “It took me completely around the world. You went where you were sent and did what you were told.”

Ron Snatt on his 100th Birthday (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Just before leaving for war Ron met his wife, Olive, on a blind date in 1940.

Ron said, “I was brought along to make up a four. I was reluctant to go but he convinced me and from that moment we were together for 75 years.”

Ron and Olive married in 1946 after they both returned from war. Olive served in the women's air force.

They lived in Seaside and then moved to Hampden Park – in the home Ron still lives in now – until Olive died in 2015.

Four generations: Ron, son Alan (73), grandson Richard (37), great grandson Frank (4)

The duo had three children, which has now grown to a family of 27. Nearly everyone was able to get together on May 27 to celebrate Ron's birthday with a buffet and 'lovely big chocolate cake', according to Ron.

The youngest member of the family is due in a few weeks.

When Ron and Olive retired they spent their time driving round the countryside and 'enjoying life'.

Gardening was a love of Ron's, as well as family caravanning holidays.

Some of Ron's drawings

He said, “We were never a 'lying on the beach' kind of family so enjoyed visiting local attractions and historical sites on our caravan holidays. The Isle of Wight and Dorset where two highlights.

“Despite living in Eastbourne all my life, I've personally never liked the beach!”

He was also a skilled artist until he lost he eyesight when he was 78.

Ron said he would sit and recreate portraits from photographs in pencil.

Ron and Olive in the late 1970s/early 1980s (photo from Ron Snatt)

When he was younger Ron also played cricket and once played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

He said, “I was a wicket keeper and used to go to The Saffrons in Eastbourne a lot to watch county games.

“Once I ended up at the famous SCG against an Australian forces team. Needless to say they wiped the floor with us.”

Now Ron continues to live alone in Hampden Park with family nearby.

He said, “I still walk up and down the stairs each day – I still want to do that as long as I can.

“I had a spell with carers after Olive died but it didn't work out – I don't need it.

Ron said, “It was very nice to get a card from the Queen.” (Pic by Jon Rigby)

“Family look after me where I need looking after, but I can look after myself for the most part. Last thing on earth I'd want to be in is a nursing home.

“An iron will and grim determination – that's what it takes.”

Alan, Ron's son, said his dad is 'an inspiration'.

He said, “What he's missing physically, he more than makes up for by his mind which is 100 per cent.

“It amazes me how he finds ways of doing things.

“Dad was determined to get to 100.”

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