A sociable centenarian whose week-long 100th birthday celebrations were featured last November was inundated with media attention afterwards.
Dennis Garratt, a former waartime RAF Squadron Leader and businessman who lives in Shepherd’s Way, Uppingham, had his story re-told in national news-papers and was asked to take part in various radio and television programmes.
But one of the nicest things to have happened is that artist Fiona Dale has produced a charcoal portrait of him.
The Lyddington-based painter spotted him in The Falcon Hotel in Uppingham, which he visits every Friday morning.
“Her friend approached me as she didn’t like to ask me herself,” said Dennis.
“She thought I had an interesting face that she would like to paint.
“I said I wouldn’t want to sit for a long time so she came to the house and took some photographs, did the drawing, had it framed and brought it round to my house.”
He was absolutely delighted with it, especially as Fiona kindly drew his portrait free of charge.
“It’s a magical picture of me, perfect really, although I do look a bit austere in it,” Dennis said.
Fiona said she had enjoyed spending time with Dennis and had framed and hung the drawing after consulting his family for their approval.
“I just like doing this kind of thing,” she said.
“I spotted Dennis in The Falcon and thought he had rather a nice face.
“The drawing took longer to do from photographs than if he had sat for it, a few hours a day for about a week.
“I wanted it to be sympathetic, not to show every wrinkle.
“It was my pleasure to do it and, for someone of his age, Dennis is remarkably sharp and a pleasure to talk to.”
As he nips around Uppingham in his Renault Clio, Dennis has noticed that since his birthday story was published many people now recognise him and will chat to him more readily.
The father and grandfather, who has been a widower since his wife Maregaret died six years ago, said a Daily Mail online story about him attracted 600 comments from people as far afield as Australia.
“I also received three serious business letters from film-makers and a request from a European radio station – but I turned them all down,” he said.