'˜Whisky is key to long life' claims Britain's oldest Olympian
A whisky every evening is the key to a long life, according to Britain's oldest living Olympian who is celebrating his 100th birthday.
Despite his athletic feats, centenarian Bill Lucas said it was the daily tipple and a glass of wine or sherry before lunch which had kept him going strong.
Mr Lucas, who is also the country’s oldest living Bomber Command pilot, competed in the 5,000m race at the 1948 Wembley Olympic Games.
He ran the distance in 14:30.6 during the heats but was 20 seconds off the required time needed to qualify.
The decorated pilot, who lives in Cowfold, West Sussex, blamed his call-up to the RAF during the Second World War for his failure to reach the final.
“I spent six years in the service and I had done very little training and I’d missed 1940 and 1944 where I might well have got a medal or something like that in those two years but Hitler deprived me of those so I went and bombed them instead.”
Mr Lucas spoke about his remarkable life at a birthday party in Wimbledon, south-west London, organised by his athletics club - Belgrave Harriers - of which he has been a member for 81 years.
The club presented him with a 172-year-old bottle of Madeira at the party to celebrate the occasion.
He trained for the Games while working full time in insurance and living off rations in the post-war era in what he said was a stark contrast to modern athletics.
“They are looked after hook, line and sinker - I think, too much but there you are. They produce results and that’s all they are required to do.”
When he competed for the country aged 32, he had already flown 81 missions over Germany in Mosquitos, and Stirling and Wellington bombers.
Despite hanging up his running shoes many years ago, he continues to watch athletics and saw Mo Farah compete at the London Games in 2012.
The party was the father-of-two’s first outing since Christmas after he was cut out of a car following an accident in November.
Yet he said the celebration was “absolutely marvellous” and he was glad to see people he had not seen in “years and years and years”.
His wife Sheena, 87, said: “I’m immensely proud - I love him dearly and we have a wonderful life together.”