Lifestyle

Rupert survives drowning and bombing to dance on to 105

LAUGHTER IS KEY: Ipswich man Rupert Cliff will be 105 next week.
LAUGHTER IS KEY: Ipswich man Rupert Cliff will be 105 next week. Rob Williams

 

Rupert Cliff will be turning 105 next week. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Rupert Cliff will be turning 105 next week. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

THERE are a few lifestyle choices that could explain why Rupert Cliff is still able to live happily in his own cosy Ipswich granny flat, despite pushing 105 years.

The English-born centenarian points to his daily consumption of porridge and an aversion to water, which came from a near-drowning incident at the age of four. Although family members think Mr Cliff's years of dancing might have contributed to his longevity, too.

Either way, this walking miracle of a great-grandfather is also a living, breathing, history book and a great source of joy to his family, who will celebrate his 105th birthday with a barbecue on May 12. Mr Cliff was born into a blended family at Burton on Trent - then a beer-brewing town, north-east of Birmingham, in 1909.

"I used to drink a certain amount of beer, until I discovered Johnnie Walker and cranberry juice, which was quite nice," he said.

"These days I mainly drink milk. I will have a warm milk to settle the stomach before bed."

Mr Cliff was the only child of the union between his mother and father but had two older half-sisters - Ivy and Gertrude - who have long since died.

One of Mr Cliff's earliest childhood memories was of being either pushed or falling into a local swimming hole as a four-year-old.

"Fortunately, there was a man working nearby, who fished me out of the water," Mr Cliff said.

"From then on, I've had an aversion to water that is so strong that I won't even drink the stuff."

Mr Cliff left school at 14 to learn sheet metal work and eventually worked at the Austin motor car factory.

The Second World War broke out, while he was working at the factory, and he can still remember the day when the air raid sirens went off - and he came very close to being blown up by a hovering German bomber.

"Overhead, I saw the biggest aeroplane I had ever seen in my life - it was a Dornier bomber," Mr Cliff said.

"I watched as the bombs came down - I was still running as they hit the ground.

"I remember bits of railway line and stuff going everywhere - I could see all the colours of the rainbow."

Life wasn't all doom and gloom around those times.

Mr Cliff married his sweetheart Margaret around the outbreak of the war and the pair had one child, Roderick. "We only had enough money for one," Mr Cliff joked.

"Jobs and money were very short everywhere in those times."

Roderick and his wife moved to Australia in the early 1970s but kept in close contact with Mr Cliff, with the patriarch often flying across the world to visit. When Margaret died about five years ago, aged 94, Mr Cliff decided to move to Australia permanently.

Topics:  105th birthday, centenarians, longevity




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Ban developer donations: Speaker on Sekisui debacle

Independent MP Peter Wellington gives a passionate speech during protests outside the Nambour Council Chambers to prevent a 'secret' council town planning meeting regarding the high rise Sekisui development at Yaroomba. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily

Developers should be banned from makiing campaign donations

Web of broken promises leaves us with dud internet

SECOND BEST: Cr Paul Tully has lamented the poor internet service that afflicts parts of the city.

"We are going to end up with a second rate service across Australia"

Mum's $12,000 bill shock: "I just broke down in tears"

NOT HAPPY: Queensland Urban Utilities has slapped Sherelle Taylor with a $12,113 water bill.

Sherelle Taylor was in disbelief when she opened her water bill

Latest deals and offers

Dami Im welcomed home after Eurovision

Dami Im visits her old school John Paul College after coming second in Eurovision 2016.

Dami Im put on a show for her old school John Paul College in Daisy Hill this...

Bennett, Langer, Thurston and others talk Cam Smith

Broncos and former QLD coach Wayne Bennett.

Broncos and former QLD coach plus past and present players talk about Cameron...

Mt Crosby Road and Warrego Upgrade

The Minister for Main Roads and Road Safety Mark Bailey with Member for Ipswich...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked