Centenarian calls for larger say for OAPs

Darlington and Stockton Times: RALLYING CALL: Bob Dales, who has celebrated his 100th birthday RALLYING CALL: Bob Dales, who has celebrated his 100th birthday

A CENTENARIAN deemed unfit to serve in the Armed Forces at the outset of the Second World War has marked his100th birthday - with rallying call to help elderly people.

Bob Dales, who celebrated the milestone with friends and family at his home in Brompton, near Northallerton, said he wanted to see people with proven ability and experience making political decisions.

Mr Dales, who became the Air Raid Precautions controller for the Northallerton area in the 1940s and directed the emergency services when the town was bombed, said older people made better decisions as they gain wisdom with age.

He was denied a call up to active service after losing the sight in one eye during an injury while fencing at the age of 16.

Later in the war he was accepted by the RAF for ground duties and was twice mentioned in despatches before being invalided out of the service.

The published author, who continues to work for up to 12 hours a day writing books on fly-fishing and is planning a children's book, said with the rapidly rising elderly population in the country, and in particular North Yorkshire, elderly people were not being catered for by authorities or firms.

Mr Dales, who has three children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, said urgent action was needed to address issues ranging from pavements to background noise on television.

He said: "Isn't it time for our generation to have a more relevant name than 'the aged' or 'pensioner', and are brought back into decision-making?

"My generation is horrified by the decline of our country, now both impoverished and degenerate."

He said as the House of Commons remained "infested by professional politicians with little or no experience of the wider world", the House of Lords should be replaced with a second chamber featuring elected leaders of a wide range of organisations.

The former insurance broker, whose voluntary work has included leading a range of groups ranging from fire and youth unemployment committees to the Salmon and Trout Association, said the leaders of social groups such as Rotary should be included in the chamber.

He said: "You live long enough to experience more than one career.

"Your life is also enriched by even wider friendships, even if you suffer when outliving old friends; you have more time to explore the world and different races."

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