Fond memories of Uppingham’s ‘true gentleman’ Dennis Garratt

Dennis Garratt celebrates  with a glass of champagne on the footplate of the steam train that took him for a special 100th birthday  ride ENGEMN00120131120142723
Dennis Garratt celebrates with a glass of champagne on the footplate of the steam train that took him for a special 100th birthday ride ENGEMN00120131120142723
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Tributes have been paid to a well-known 100-year-old who stayed active in the community until his final day.

Dennis Garratt, of Shepherd’s Way, Uppingham, died on Thursday last week.

Dennis made several appearances in the Mercury when he celebrated his 100th birthday in November last year.

The former RAF Squadron Leader was treated to a VIP outing to the Great Central Railway, a community party at Uppingham town hall and a jazz night at the Falcon Hotel.

Glen Green, from Oadby, was a close friend of Dennis in his final years and paid a touching tribute this week. He said: “Not only will I miss his constant smiling face but so will very many other people who had the good fortune to meet him.

“It’s not every day that a truly quintessentially English gentleman enters your life and my life has most certainly been enriched by Dennis, my friend, having done so.”

Glen recounted the day he met Dennis in the lounge bar of the Falcon Hotel in April 2012. Glen couldn’t believe the man he stood next to at the bar was aged 99, as he claimed so promised to treat him to a Champagne lunch on his next birthday.

Glen said: “However, November 2012 came along and also the day of the Champagne lunch. On meeting Dennis at the Falcon, he met me with quite a sad face. ‘Anything wrong’, I asked. ‘I have made a terrible mistake’, he said. ‘I have miscounted – I am only 99 this birthday’.

“Never mind, I said. We’ll still have a Champagne lunch.”

The pair’s friendship continued through fortnightly lunches, visiting restaurants and pubs around Rutland.

Dennis was also a keen motorist and kept driving well beyond his 100th birthday. He was issued with a new licence lasting until 2016.