A former professional footballer who is very still much ‘on the ball’ reached a major milestone this week by turning 100.
William ‘Bill’ Simpson still lives independently in Stanley and says only an ankle injury he sustained during his playing days prevents him from being mobile.
The soccer-mad centenarian is originally from Carlisle and started his career at his boyhood club, Carlisle United.
From there he made the move to Tottenham Hotspur, where he played alongside Bill Nicholson, who went on to become the London club’s most decorated manager.
But like many players of his era, World War II intervened and William joined the RAF, meeting his future wife Ada, while stationed in Lincolnshire.
He was demobbed in June 1946 while in Hamburg and returned home to continue his career, playing inside left for Carlisle United.
But forced to retire soon after through the ankle injury he sustained prior to the war, he then went on to become a manager at the food manufacturer Birds Eye Walls in Leeds, where he remained until his retirement.
He has two daughters, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Sadly, his wife Ada passed away 20 years ago, and while he receives daily visits from his family, he continues to take care of himself.
He said: “I can’t do a lot, I still have problems with my ankle but I do still like to watch football when it’s on telly.”
Asked about the secret to his long life, Williams said: “I have never smoked in my life but I do enjoy a pint, but that’s about it.
“I’m sure staying fit has helped.”
His daughter, Yvonne Jones, added: “Apart from his mobility, he is brilliant.
“He is with it and has a better memory than me.
“If it wasn’t for his ankle, he’d be up and about.”
The family are planning to meet for a birthday celebration this Saturday.