A former mineworker and musician has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Thomas Preece, who is originally from Crumlin, was born on August 2, 1921.
He worked at Oakdale Colliery from the age of 14 up until his retirement aged 60.
Mr Preece worked as a winder and an engine driver during his time at the colliery.
During the Second World War, Mr Preece continued working at the pit as part of the war effort.
Mr Preece said “hard work” was the secret to his longevity.
To mark his milestone birthday, a party was thrown at Bargoed Care Home, where Mr Preece now lives.
Singers Neil Lane and Andrew Galley came to the care home to perform a number of Mr Preece’s favourite songs.
The duo performed outdoors due to coronavirus safety measures at the home.
Speaking to Caerphilly Observer, Mr Preece said he enjoyed his birthday surprise and added: “Music was my life.”
In his younger days, Mr Preece played the clarinet and saxophone and learned to play the piano as a child.
He was a member of Markham Brass Band for 50 years, performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London on three different occasions.
He also performed at the Investiture of the Prince of Wales, which took place at Caernarfon Castle on July 1, 1969.
Mr Preece was also a keen dancer, and used to dance at some of the local clubs with his late wife, Mary.
The couple got married in 1947 and were together until Mary passed away five years ago.
The couple lived in Blackwood for most of their married life.
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Together, the couple had daughter Susan and son Alan, as well as two grandsons, a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter.
Susan described her father as a “true gentleman”.
She said: “He can still walk and still has his mental agility.”
Mr Preece moved into Bargoed Care Home in March 2020 before the first coronavirus lockdown came into force.
Susan thanked staff at the care home for the support they have given her father and said: “I can’t thank them enough”.
Throughout the pandemic, care homes across the country have had to abide by strict safety measures in order to protect residents, who are among the most vulnerable in society.
Bargoed Care Home has not recorded a single case of coronavirus since the pandemic broke out last year.
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