IN 1945, 26-year-old Joseph Nichol was given a six-month job at Newbiggin in Hexhamshire.

Fresh out of the Army after serving in France during the Second World War, the post as a gardener and handyman came with a small house.

It was designed to help him get back on his feet after his service.

However, he ended up staying there slightly longer – only moving out at the age of 95 in 2014.

The Hexhamshire native now lives near Alston with his daughter Christine, and celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday, May 18 with friends and family.

The eldest of seven children, Joseph, known as Joe, was born in Steel in 1919 to Joseph and Hannah Nichol

Joseph Snr worked on the roads, as well as being a local Methodist preacher.

Joseph attended Ordley School for his entire education, leaving at 14 to do various farming jobs around the shire.

He was drafted into the Army in 1939 as the war broke out, serving in the Manchester Regiment.

Joseph saw action in France alongside his three brothers. Fortunately for the family, all four boys returned home safely.

Although he rarely talks about his time in the Army, Joseph did comment: “I served in France – that was where the war was!”

Whilst on leave in East Yorkshire, Joseph met his future wife, Barbara.

They married in 1943 and returned to the Tyne Valley after the end of the war, settling in Newbiggin after Joseph was employed.

Joseph and Barbara were together for more than 70 years before her death in 2013.

The couple had two twin daughters, and Joseph has gone on to have four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Joseph continued to work into his 90s, pottering on at Newbiggin up until 2014.

After losing his wife, he remained in his home there for a short time, before moving in with Christine.

And his daughter said the centenarian still enjoyed a good quality of life. Christine said: “He’s wonderful for 100.

“He has his health, he’s content with life.”

When asked what his secret to a long life was, Joseph replied: “I don’t know. There’s no secret.

“Something like contentment.”