Salisbury man celebrates 100th birthday during lockdown

Salisbury man celebrates 100th birthday during lockdown

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 5:40am 22nd April 2020. (Updated at 6:38am 23rd April 2020)

3 minute read

The family of James Wren is marking the milestone with a sweet gesture outside their home.

Having a birthday during the coronavirus pandemic doesn't quite have the same excitement especially if you're elderly and shielding from Covid-19.

A big party organised by James's family has had to be cancelled to keep in line with social distancing guidelines.

Instead his daughter and son-in-law will be having cake and prosecco outside their home in Harper Road where James and his wife Margaret are currently living.

Andy and Dee Dables hope anyone taking part in their daily exercise will join them at 11am to toast James on his big day and donate to the Stars Appeal..


James's niece in Australia has also made a touching gesture to mark his 100th birthday.

Sharon had a special message created on her local beach for her Uncle Jim as he's known.

James Wren beach pic
A message created in the sand on Brighton beach in Melbourne for James!

So what's the secret to getting to 100?

James says that's down to "keeping active with a lot of luck and hard work!"


Meanwhile it's not a just a milestone birthday James is celebrating.

Prince Charles has commissioned a portrait of the former Royal Marine.

James was aboard HMS Repulse when it was bombed on December 10th 1941 in the South China Sea.

He was captured by the Japanese and became a prisoner of war for over four years.

His son Andy explains how the painting has come about.

"As he is only one of four survivors Prince Charles somehow found out and has commissioned a portrait of him which will be hung in Buckingham Palace. He has had two sittings of the three."

The artist is Eileen Hogan from the Royal School of Drawing and it's hoped the final sitting will be able to take place once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

James himself says he's "very proud and embarrassed about the portrait."

James Wren was born in East Grimstead.

He joined the Royal Marines age 19 in 1939 and married Margaret, the sister of one his fellow comrades in 1946.

James Wren and wife pic
James and Margaret Wren.

James worked for Salisbury Council and then became a groundsman for St Thomas's School (later known as Westwood St Thomas) retiring in 1985 age 65.

All of us here at Spire FM wish James a very happy birthday.


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