A trip down memory lane

8th March 2016 | posted in News

Joseph Tarn has packed a lot into his 101 years - flying on Concorde, taking the Orient Express and managing 500 members of staff being just some of the many highlights.

Mr Tarn, who lives in Escomb Road, Bishop Auckland, has just celebrated turning 101 and he used his latest birthday to take a trip down memory lane.

Mr Tarn only moved into his Railway Housing Association property two years ago, having lived most of his life in a house in Windsor Terrace, Shildon. Shildon born and bred, he says he had a happy childhood and he remembers his first job, aged 16, was as an errand boy for the Walter Wilson store in the town.

He then followed his father, as did many young people at the time, into employment at the Shildon Railway Works where he trained as a riveter, before becoming a welder. When he retired an amazing 49 years later he was Chief Foreman in charge of over 500 workers.

Mr Tarn certainly never took things easily when he retired. His wife Vera, who sadly passed away 18 years ago, did a lot of voluntary work and they very soon became known as ‘Mr and Mrs Red Cross’ because of the work they did for the British Red Cross.

He once also entered a competition in a national newspaper and won a one-way trip on Concorde to Paris and a return trip on the Orient Express.

Mr Tarn said: “I had always wanted to fly on Concorde so when I discovered I had won the competition I was over the moon.

“It was very exciting, especially when the screen flashed up in the cabin that we had reached supersonic speed, and we got to Paris in no time at all.

“As someone who worked most of my life on the railways, coming back on the original Orient Express was also very special.”

Even though he is not as mobile as he once was, when he walked five miles a day, he still likes to stretch his legs, or take a run-out in the car with his family to get some fresh air and a change of scenery.

There is also one other family tradition he insists on keeping up and that is buying The Northern Echo.

He added: “My mum and dad got The Northern Echo every day so when I left home I did the same.

“I have read it all my life and one of the things I look forward to each morning is the paper being delivered to the door.”

To celebrate his birthday Mr Tarn, who has a daughter, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild, was taken out for lunch at Headlam Hall.

Railway Housing Association Housing Manager Julie Clark, who presented Mr Tarn with a plant, said: “Mr Tarn is one of our oldest residents and we were delighted to be able to share his birthday with him.”

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