A MAN celebrated his 100th birthday by looking back on a life full of moths, family and army.
Ray Birchenough, from Dorstone, threw three birthday parties to celebrate his old age.
The first saw a family celebration at Hampton Bishop, the next with his wife’s family and the third with his village at The Pandy Inn, in Dorstone.
Mr Birchenough was born in Anerley, south London, in July 1922, where he lived with his parents, grandparents, two brothers and a sister until he was ten years old.
The family moved to West Wickham and in 1938 he joined the Methodist Church, beginning a 45-year membership during which he served as youth club leader and on numerous committees.
As a child Mr Birchenough was very interested in the outdoors and natural history and when he was around seven he noticed caterpillars feeding on a hedge in the front garden, which he later learned they were moths.
This was his first experience with Lepidoptera which was to be a lifelong interest.
He registered his moths for the Butterfly Conservancy for many years and held the record for the most registered moths in Herefordshire.
Mr. Birchenough then went to technical college and began working in the research laboratories at Burroughs and Wellcome which during the war were a reserved occupation.
He volunteered to join the RAF and was selected for training as a navigator. He then chose to join the medical profession before marrying his girlfriend Joyce in 1944.
He moved to London Hospital Medical College in 1948, where he retired as Chief Technician of the Anatomy Department in 1984.
In March 1952, Mr Birchenough and his wife joined a self-build group which eventually built 25 bungalows, moving into theirs in August 1956.
He was eventually able to have a moth trap in his garden and recorded moths in the area until 1986 when the couple moved to Herefordshire to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren, settling in Dorstone.
Mr. Birchenough also enjoyed being in a new area for moths and butterflies and birdwatching.
He later became a member of the town hall committee and then governor of the primary school.
After Mrs Birchenough died in 1998, he married Toni.
Now they enjoy the garden and two cats, as well as a selection of birds, and they live a quieter life enjoying the company of friends and each other.