AN ISLAND resident will swim 100m today — to celebrate his 100th birthday and raise money for the NHS.

Bill Smith, a resident on the Isle of Wight since 1970, has vowed to raise money by swimming in the pool at retirement development Briary Court in Cowes, where he lives.

An avid swimmer since he was five years old, Bill has never forgotten the initial feeling of how freeing swimming can be, and swims every morning at 7am.

He said: “I want to do something that doesn’t just benefit me, and the NHS needs as much as they can get after the last year.”

The retired chef is donating £100 himself, £1 for every year of his life, and is hoping to raise much more.

The eldest and last surviving of six children, born in the coal mining town of Bedwas, South Wales, Bill left home and school at 14 and began his career in cookery.

It was a career which took him to the Trocadero, Savoy and Ritz hotels in London, his own Grill restaurant in Cheltenham and as head of the Isle of Wight College catering department.

He served in India and Burma during the Second World War, recovering downed aircraft.

Married to Ruth, who he met at the Atlantic Hotel, Weston-Super-Mare, when he was a chef there, the couple had children, Maretta and Peter, and three grandchildren.

He has always been active and claims to have never been tired in his life!

His family said he was always cooking, digging the garden, swimming, singing and dancing, building or doing something — and is just the same even as he turns 100.

Isle of Wight County Press:

His home, Briary Court, is managed by FirstPort, who have helped promote his swim.

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