LIFELONG Hearts supporter and former keen athlete Charles Hunter has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Having lived independently in the private retirement housing at Liberton Park Court for 25 years, he partied with his neighbours at Liberton Bowling Club to celebrate his centenary, as well as with family and friends at the Bruntsfield Hotel.
Born on January 5, 1914 in Edinburgh, Mr Hunter was brought up by his mother after his father, who had previously survived the war, died during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.
He had one brother and two sisters, and his mother ran a poultry farm in Burdiehouse in order to support her family in the wake of her husband’s death.
During his childhood, his mother took the children to New York, where they remained for a year, a particularly special memory for the family.
Mr Hunter attended South Morningside, Lorne Street and Burdiehouse primary schools before going on to George Heriot’s for secondary.
At 16, he followed in the footsteps of many of his peers by joining the Merchant Navy.
He stayed for only a few years, before leaving to take on a job as a dispatch clerk for clothing firm Boswell in Hanover Street.
Mr Hunter wasn’t away from the military life for long, however, as in 1937 he joined the RAF.
He was posted to Iraq and Yemen during the Second World War, and was eventually promoted to the rank of sergeant.
On leaving the military once again, he went on to spend much of his life working in the food industry as a warehouse manager.
As a young man, Mr Hunter enjoyed running and was a dedicated member of the Northern Harriers, a running club which welcomed members of all levels of ability.
Mr Hunter married his beloved wife, Rachel, in 1942.
They shared the same birthday, with Charles being just one year older.
They lived a long and happy life together, before Rachel passed away in 2012, at the age of 97.
Charles and Rachel had three children, two sons and a daughter. Their eldest son died in 2008.
Mr Hunter is very proud of his eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. His interests, in retiring, have been football, his family and DIY.
Fay Evans, manager with Bield Housing, which oversees the complex where Mr Hunter lives, said: “He’s such a lovely person. He enjoys going out and about, especially in the summer time and he absolutely adores his grandchildren.
“He’s always very cheery and his birthday party was absolutely fantastic. We celebrated with another lady named Lily, who had just recently celebrated her 100th birthday. They got lots of presents. The whole day just went so well.”