A decorated former RAF pilot has celebrated turning 102 at his care home in St Ives.

William (Bill) Stevens in his former RAF days 
PICTURE: Nicole DaybellWilliam (Bill) Stevens in his former RAF days PICTURE: Nicole Daybell

William (Bill) Stevens, from Care UK’s Field Lodge, on London Road, celebrated his impressive milestone on November 1.

The former member of the RAF was joined by residents and staff members to toast his special occasion.

Revealing the secret to living a long and happy life, Bill said “keeping active and busy” was the key.

He added: “I had a wonderful day and the team at Field Lodge ensured I was able to celebrate in style. There were balloons, cake and I was thrilled to be able to see my family from a distance too, this made the day even more special.”

Linda Martinez, home manager at Field Lodge, said: “We always like to make an occasion of birthdays, and even under current circumstances, Bill’s 102nd birthday was no exception. It was wonderful to surprise him with a distanced visit from his family, as well as a birthday cake, presents and a toast with his Field Lodge family.”

Bill, who was born in Hendon, left school aged 14 and went on to work as a shop assistant at Sainsbury’s in Blackfriars.

At the start of World War Two, Bill joined the RAF as a physical training instructor before being accepted for flying training.

During his time in the RAF, Bill survived two plane crashes, and was one of the first pilots to complete 100 casevac flights. He was also awarded both the Distinguishing Flying Cross and the Air Force Flying Cross.

In his retirement, Bill returned to Marshall’s in Cambridge, assisting with writing pilot’s manuals, as well as taking up golf, beekeeping and bell ringing, all of which he continued to enjoy into his nineties.

To celebrate his 100-year-old birthday, Bill’s family arranged for him to fly in Tiger Moth from Duxford, which brought back fond memories of his time in the RAF.

Bill moved into Field Lodge at the age of 101, where he enjoys spending time in the garden, taking part in the exercise activities, and keeping in touch with his friends and family.