Essex's oldest man has celebrated his 108th birthday - and put his long life down to being a bachelor!

Marvellous - 108-year-old Harry Laverick says the trick is to stay single. Picture: STEPHANIE MACKRILL (20369-a)

Harry Laverick is thought to be the oldest man in the county and thinks it is simply "marvellous" to have lived so long.

Mr Laverick, who lives at the Middleton Manor care home in Maldon, is also one of the oldest men in the country, being narrowly pipped at the post by Fred Moore from London who is 109.

Harry puts his longevity down to remaining a bachelor. He said: "I've never been married. I don't much care for women, there's something about them that vexes me."

He marked his special day yesterday with a glass of his favourite tipple, Newcastle Brown Ale, and visits from all his friends.

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Published Friday, March 22, 2002