Robert celebrates his 100th birthday with his daily copy of the Evening Times

MOST 100-year-olds can't wait for a telegram from the Queen.

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Robert with his collection of Evening Times' pages
Robert with his collection of Evening Times' pages

But great-great-grandfather Robert Reid is more excited about picking up his copy of the Evening Times.

The former engineer, was celebrating his milestone birthday today surrounded by friends and family.

And the pensioner revealed the secret to his long and healthy life is never missing an edition of our paper.

He said: "I've been buying it since I was 10 or 12. I read every single word."

As a gift to the centenarian, his daughter-in-law Belinda has printed and laminated a November 15 front page of the Evening Times from every decade since 1912.

Robert walks from his Townhead home every afternoon to buy a copy of the paper from one of our street sellers – and doesn't go to sleep at night until he's finished the crossword.

He said: "I love the Evening Times because it's mostly Glasgow news. That's what I want to read about."

The remarkable OAP has fought cancer twice and has battled through the sadness of losing his first and second wife and his two sons.

He has seen two world wars, 24 UK prime ministers and the Moon landing.

Robert was born, in 1912, at number 824 Garscube Road, in the west of the city, to Peter and Catherine Reid.

Robert, who went to Springbank School, said: "When I was young I used to collect the Evening Times' Wee Red Book.

"Then I used to deliver the paper, along with The Herald, round Byres Road."

He described how much the landscape of Glasgow had changed over the years.

"The traffic was less than it is now," he said.

"The houses on Byres Road were pretty rich.

"It was usually a servant that took the papers off you. Sometimes they gave you a tea. Of course I was just a Glesga keelie. They were toffs."

Robert left school aged 14 and went on to work for a baker, delivering "big baskets of rolls and cakes" round the doors.

He got married to his first wife Annie in 1930. Two children, Robert and James, soon followed.

Robert became unemployed and said it was one of the toughest times of his life.

"I was idle for three years and I ended up cleaning windows to try and get money," he said.

"At that time you only got dole money for a short time then you had to go to the Parish and ask them for money.

"It was tough. There was no NHS either, nothing like that."

HIS fortunes changed after a chance meeting between his dad, who played football for Glasgow Perthshire, and an engineer for a firm in Bridgeton Cross, who helped him secure a job.

Robert worked at the firm for 34 years.

Tragedy struck in 1943 – right in the middle of the Second World War – when Annie died from Tuberculosis aged 32.

Robert said: "It left me with two wee kids.

"It was very difficult but we just became a wee clique. When they were growing up it was just the three of us."

Robert was exempt from being called up to fight because his engineering company built war materials.

He joined the Home Guard, but had to resign when Annie died to make sure he was there to look after their children.

He got married to Ellen in 1949 and she became a step-mother to the boys.

Ellen died in January 1999, a fortnight before the couple's golden wedding.

Robert's eldest son, also called Robert, moved to Canada and died in July this year, aged 79.

His youngest son, James, lived in Drumchapel with his wife Belinda, 54, until he died eight years ago at the age of 69.

In total, Robert has eight grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild aged 14.

His relatives from Canada have travelled over to Glasgow to celebrate his milestone birthday.

Robert said: "I've had a really happy life, except for the losses. It's hard to outlive your kids."

As well as reading his beloved newspaper every day, Robert goes to bed at the same time every night, walks everywhere and helps anyone in need.

His only vice is he doesn't go a day without a glass of sherry.

Belinda, who has written a book for her father-in-law, called Jist a Glasgow Keelie, said: "He would do anything to help anybody. He's a comedian.

"Everybody that knows him always get him the same way."

Robert is also not afraid of modern technology and has his own email account.

He said: "I love gadgets. I email my relatives all the time."

The pensioner is philosophical about the future.

He said: "I'm not worried about dying, not at all. I'm very happy and I've had a great life."

rachel.loxton@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

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