Centenarian Harry steams on

Harry Booth (pictured with his daughter Susan) who will celebrate his 100th birthday on New Years Eve. Picture Scott Merrylees
Harry Booth (pictured with his daughter Susan) who will celebrate his 100th birthday on New Years Eve. Picture Scott Merrylees

It’s full steam ahead for one former train driver, who shows no sign of slowing down, despite having just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Harry Booth celebrated the centenary of his birth with his family and friends on New Year’s Eve.

Born in Wakefield in 1918, Mr Booth worked on the railway throughout the Second World War, serving first as a fireman, a physically taxing job which involved shovelling coal to power steam trains, before becoming a train driver.

He is one of an elite few to have driven the Flying Scotsman, one of the 20th century’s most iconic steam trains.

In January 1941, he married Irene Booth, and the couple welcomed their daughter, Susan, in December of that year, just three days before his 23rd birthday.

Mr Booth’s daughter, now Susan Parkin, said: “He has a wicked sense of humour.

“He got his card from the Queen for his birthday and was thrilled to bits with it, but he said there was one disappointment - that there was no cheque in it.”

And Susan said that her dad shows no sign of slowing down, despite his age.

She said: “We always say that when he grows up he’ll be a bit daft.

“He ought to have been born a bit later. He’s got an iPhone and an iPad and he knows how to use them.

“He always says that’s the biggest difference he’s seen in his life - the change in technology.”

Mr Booth has remained in Wakefield for most of his life, living first in Belle Vue, then relocating to St John’s before settling in Sandal, where he now lives.

His grandchildren, Ian and Rachel, now live in Australia with his great-grandchildren, Caleb and Lily, but he communicates with them frequently by video chat.