A FORMER railwayman from the Forest saw in his 100th birthday surrounded by four generations of his family this week.

Arthur Rainer, who lives at Sydenham House Care Home in Blakeney, celebrated the milestone with tea and cake, an afternoon with his extended family and an impressive haul of cards and gifts.

Among those who joined the festivities were his wife Grace, his son Frank and Grace’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

He also received a special card and message to honour the landmark birthday from His Majesty King Charles III.

Arthur was born in Kent in 1923 as the youngest of five children, before he moved to Devon as a very small child and remained there until he was 17.

Frank describes the Rainers as “a railway family”, with Arthur following in the footsteps of his elder brother, who was 21 years his senior, and his father in joining the railway.

After his second eldest sister married a railwayman and moved to Guildford in Surrey, Arthur followed her, and worked on the railways, as Frank says, “buzzing up and down to London on trains”.

He began his working life as a cleaner before working his way up through the ranks, from stoker to fireman and finally, driver.

In 1956 he moved over to driving electric trains, which he did for the rest of his working life until he retired at 65, bringing to an end a 48-year career.

After Frank, who lives in Yorkley, moved to Gloucestershire a few years before Arthur’s retirement, his parents followed him to the Forest.

They lived in Bream for ten years before his wife sadly passed away. Soon after he met Grace, who had also lost her husband around the same time.

They married when he was 75 and she was 69, and have now spent 25 years together.

Arthur moved into Grace’s home in Lydney, before last year he fell over and broke his hip, and moved into Sydenham House in December.

His past hobbies include reading, following sport and playing cricket, though Frank says in more recent years he “just concentrates on living, and he seems to be doing quite well at it!”