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Derby Daily Telegraph - 28 December 1935

Shirley's Vigorous Veteran
MR. GEORGE GILMAN, of Derby-lane Farm, Shirley, one of the seven octogenarians of that village, mentioned in a recent issue of the "Telegraph," can boast of a rather unusual record.
    Although Shirley is within nine miles of Derby, he has not been into the town for 20 years. His last visit was as a patient at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.
    This hardened old countryman is 84, but has the energy of a man 15 years his junior (writes a "Telegraph" representative).
    A native of Longford, the neighbouring village, he has lived at his present home for 50 years. At one time he was in gentleman's service, but he left to help his father with the farm. Incidentally, he is very proud of his father, who started as a farm labourer, and worked his way up to position of farmer.
    My preconceived ideas about octogenarians who smoke huge clay pipes and drink their pints of beer, day in and day out, were shattered when I interviewed Mr. Gilman.
    "I have never smoked in my life," he told me, smilingly. "If I feel like a drink, then I have one—but only very seldom."
    He then gave me another shock.
    "I get up at four o'clock every morning. I go to bed early sometimes—depends how I feel."
    What amuses— and amazes—everybody in Shirley is the fact that he continues to do the work of a strong young farm labourer. He is always out and about the farm, mending hedges, stripping fruit trees, cleaning out sheds. The other day he have himself a black eye when he was chopping wood, and a splinter flew up.
    "I please myself whether I work or play." said Mr. Gilman, "but best of all playing at work."
    He and his brother To are the only two remaining of ten brothers. Tom is 78—"quite a youngster."
    Before I left Mr Gilman rather shamefacedly admitted he was a bachelor
    "There was a young lady once," he said, "and I think she's still single, too!"
    Mr. Gilman is regarded as a real character in the village, and rightly so. He is always full of spirits and is a lively companon. Many people have told him that he will top the century mark, but of that he is rather doubtful —good look to him, anyway!

© British Newspaper Archive

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