Reg Dean, Britain's oldest man, dies aged 110

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Media captionMr Dean attributed his longevity to a "mysterious medicine" given to him in his youth

Britain's oldest man has died at the age of 110 years and 63 days.

Former church minister Reg Dean lived through two world wars and 24 British prime ministers.

Born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, on 4 November 1902, Mr Dean died at his home in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, on Saturday.

The former army chaplain became Britain's oldest man after the death of 110-year-old Stanley Lucas, from Cornwall, in June 2010.

He was married three times and had one son and two grandchildren.

John Neaum, who met Mr Dean in the 1960s, said his close friend was a "multi-talented" character, who wrote short stories, founded the Dalesmen Male Voice Choir and took up painting at the age of 80.

"He always looked for the best in people," he said. "He gave a lot of people a lot of deep joy."

'Lazy bones'

Mr Dean became ordained in the Church of England in the 1920s and served as an army chaplain in Burma during World War II.

In 1958, he became a teacher at Herbert Strutt School in Belper, Derbyshire, where he worked for 10 years.

Mr Dean was proud of bringing Fair Trade to Wirksworth, having set up a shop in the home he shared with his third wife, Mr Neaum said.

He was a vegetarian for more than 30 years and was a minister with both the Church of England and later the United Reformed Church, only retiring when he was 80.

Mr Dean once said the secret of his longevity was being lazy.

Speaking at a party for his 109th birthday, he said: "I'm a member of the august fellowship known as 'lazy bones'."

Mr Dean had been living for some years at Waltham House, which is an extra care scheme for older people run by Housing 21.

Helen Hart, locality manager, said: "We are very sad to hear of the death of Reg Dean.

"He was an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed."

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