A MAN celebrating his 100th birthday has put his long life down to a healthy lifestyle.

Lawrence Smith, from Allendale, celebrated the landmark occasion earlier this week alongside his wife Margaret.

Born and bred in the heart of the Allen Valleys, Lawrence has remained in the house he grew up in all his life.

“I’m really proud of Allendale, it’s a great place,” he said.

The secret to living a healthy lifestyle at the age of 100 is hard work and fresh air, according to Lawrence.

He attended Allendale School before going on to work at the former Sipton Lead Mine, near Sinderhope.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Lawrence was sent off to North Africa to work as a supplier for frontline troops.

His four years during the war were at the height of his young adult years, and after working in North Africa he was tasked with clearing the former Nazi-occupied Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

Lawrence said working at the camp in the wake of the war was a ‘shocking experience’.

His wartime service earned him four medals for his work including the Africa Star.

Returning back to Tynedale aged 25, Lawrence worked at Allendale Post Office as a postman for the local area.

Spending 37 years in the job, he would walk around 17 miles a day, whatever the weather.

“I remember the storms of 1947 and 1963 were really bad,” he said. “There was 10-15ft snowdrifts, which worsened the conditions considerably.”

While working as a postman, Lawrence met his wife Margaret who worked as an assistant at the village’s store.

Margaret, from Nenthead, also worked as a store manager at the former Co-op in Catton, which meant the pair were popular with neighbours throughout the Allen Valleys.

A true Allendonian, Lawrence annually volunteered to be a barrel carrier at the New Year’s Eve Tar Bar’l celebrations before becoming a torch bearer. He was also instrumental in the village’s Armistice services, helping organise events and poppy distribution.

Today, Lawrence likes to spend his time watching science and nature programmes in his armchair.