AN RAF veteran from Alloa, who celebrated his 100th birthday last week, has been all smiles since leaving school.

Joe Dawson marked the milestone on the day last Friday, October 4, with family, friends, dignitaries as well as residents and staff at West Lodge Gardens where he has been staying for the past few years.

One of four siblings, he was born into a family home on Erskine Street in Alloa in 1919, later growing up in Devon Village and attending Fishcross Primary School.

Joe worked in the Danish deli locally where he quickly became known as “the smiler” by lady shoppers.

It was evident why, as he wore his to-date charming smile last week when a party was thrown at West Lodge Gardens in his honour.

And while his smile may have drawn the ladies in the droves to the deli, profits were said to be down as Joe would eat the cheese and cold meats, or so it was claimed.

In attendance at the party last week were Provost Tina Murphy who delivered flowers and a card, Vice Lord Lieutenant John Spruce who delivered a card from HM the Queen and members of the Wee County Veterans and Supporters Group who also delivered a card, signed by local veterans.

When the Second World War broke out, Joe was called up in 1939 and joined the Royal Air Force, working as ground crew for five years.

He very much enjoyed his time there, meeting many people and although it was dark times, he said he had a good life in the force.

During his time down south, Joe would frequent the Blackpool Ballroom where he enjoyed the foxtrot, quickstep and waltz and was never short of a partner.

That is until the “yanks” turned up and spoiled things with their fancy new dance moves.

Eventually, Joe decided on a permanent dance partner in Jean, whom he married in 1941, later settling in Alloa’s Mitchell Crescent.

They were married for 65 years, another milestone, until Jean sadly passed away, leaving behind Joe and their two children Jeffrey and Ann.

Once back in civil life, Joe started working in the turbine house at Patons mill and then as a handyman until he retired.

In his spare time he enjoyed fishing, usually at Loch Earn, as well as growing his own vegetables in the garden.

Joe is a valued member of the church community as treasurer and is also a member of the Masonic Lodge.

Nowadays he enjoys the activities on offer at his residence, particularly reminiscence sessions.

Staff, who love hearing his stories, say he is never lost for words and is a pleasure to work with.