Council’s special event to celebrate Jack’s 100th birthday
25 Sep 2023
A special birthday reception was held by Northumberland County Council to mark Army Veteran Jack Hearn’s 100th birthday.
The event was held at County Hall in Morpeth to celebrate the momentous occasion with members of his family, the council Leader, Ceremonial
Head, the council’s Armed Forces Champions along with army force cadets in attendance.
He was presented with a Northumberland food hamper and tucked into a specially baked birthday cake.
Jack, a council tenant who lives in Cramlington is in remarkably good health. He became the oldest judo teacher in the UK, gained his 10th Dan in Judo at the age of 97 and is still giving technical advice to those who need it.
Jack took up Judo in 1951 and three years later he and brother Rob started their own judo club. Strapped for cash, they made their own judo mats out of sawdust and old army canvas, or material taken from lifebelts.
Jack knows a lot about combat. He was in the Northumberland Fusiliers and served in North Africa and Italy during the Second World War, including during the fearsome battle of Monte Cassino.
Jack is often asked what the secret to keeping young is. He said:
“I think it is so important to keep your mind active. To keep in touch with the world, keep meeting people and talking to people and having respect for each other. My judo has certainly kept my body going but it has also given me a purpose and gets me out the house to meet people. I have also had an enjoyable life with wonderful people around me. There have been bumps along the way of course but I’ve definitely had a bit of help from the man in heaven looking down on me.”
When asked what he has planned next, Jack said:
“As part of my birthday present I am going up in a micro-light so I am really looking forward to that. I have always loved travelling and went out to Benidorm earlier in the year, so hopefully I can do a bit more of that too.”
Jack has one son, four daughters, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren
Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council said: “It was a privilege to meet Jack and his family and an honour and a joy to say hello to one of our heroes. It was very kind of them to come into County Hall and I know everyone who met Jack and his family were so pleased to have met them.”