Ipswich man John Willmott has no plans to retire as he celebrates 90th birthday

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

An Ipswich man who is still working at the age of 90 has said staying positive is the key to living a long and healthy life.

John celebrating his 90th birthday with colleagues at Fynn Valley Golf Club. Pictured left to right

John celebrating his 90th birthday with colleagues at Fynn Valley Golf Club. Pictured left to right is Jenny Holmes, John Wilmott, Jan Harlott and Kerry Mayes. Picture: RYAN PARFETT - Credit: Archant

John Willmott drives to Fynn Valley Golf Club every Monday morning, like he has done since 1999, and spends two hours cleaning the Adnams beer lines between the cellar and the taps in two bars.

The sprightly nonagenarian takes care of himself at home, does his own cooking, cleaning, gardening and is particularly proud of the tomatoes he grows in his greenhouse.

When asked to reveal his secret to vitality, Mr Willmott said: “I think most of it is when you wake up in the morning you just look for the good things, don’t moan or argue or look at the sad side. Make your mind up to enjoy the day.

“I don’t think I eat anything different. I still drunk too much when I was a lad.

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Just be nice. If you are a nice and happy person you will live a long while; I think so anyway.”

Raised in London, Mr Willmott moved to Ipswich in 1960 with his late wife Jean, to whom he was married for 60 years.

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Mr Willmott made his career as a tiler, a job which took him all over the world, admitting he was “quite good at it”. He tiled Crown Pools swimming pool in Ipswich.

His two sons - Adam and Peter - are now tilers themselves, after Mr Willmott took them on as his apprentices.

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

It was Mr Willmott’s 90th birthday on Wednesday, and staff at Fynn Valley, based in Ipswich, helped him celebrate. Adnams sent him a case of Southwold and a T-shirt.

Jenny Holmes, secretary at the golf club, said Mr Willmott was affectionately known to many as ‘John the Pipes’.

She added: “John is always cheerful and smiling, he is a breath of fresh air on a Monday morning and an inspiration to us all.”

Having outlived most of his close friends, Mr Willmott said he felt lonely at times, which is why he looked forward to his weekly shift - and he plans to carry on as long as his knees allow him.

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John Willmott at his home in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

While Mr Willmott has opted to work into old age, millennials may not be given the choice.

From 2019, the state pension age will start to increase for both men and women to reach 66 by 2020.

That number is expected to rise further in the future as advancements in modern medicine mean people are generally living a lot longer.

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