Surprise visit from the RAF marks veteran’s 100th birthday party

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Richard Satchel celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends on November 14 at the Maplehurst Nursing Home.

A surprise visit was made by a delegation from 32 (The Royal) Squadron (pictured with Richard) and included Wing Commander OC Steve Courtnadge, Warrant Officer Henriques, Corporal Gemma Connell and Mrs Jane Burt 32 (The Royal) Squadron Association Secretary. Richard served with the 32 Squadron as a corporal during the Second World War as an aircraft fitter and saw action in North Africa and Italy.

It is also the 100th anniversary this year of the formation of the 32 Squadron and a commemorative tie and badge was presented to Richard.

Richard enjoyed playing sport and played cricket, bowls at Lindfield bowls club and table tennis for United Services and St Francis. It is at table tennis that Richard excelled and played all round the world in Veterans’ tournaments and in his last tournament in Japan, before two strokes ended his playing career, he won a silver medal in the over 85 singles event.

Richard is also the oldest person to play in the Haywards Heath and District Table Tennis League. He was still beating opponents with an old hard bat at the age of 87!

After a career in the postal service and customs and excise Richard left to take up a post with his wife Alice looking after the Brookhouse Estate and Lady Clarke at Highbrook.

They lived in the bothy cottage there for many years and became well known by the many tenants that lived at Brookhouse.

Richard has enjoyed a healthy life, as witnessed by his sporting prowess, and enjoyed a glass of red wine with his lunch and a whiskey nightcap and following a health check at the age of 90 was advised to cut down on his alcohol intake.

When asked if he had heeded the advice he replied that he had decided to change his doctor!

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