FEW people have celebrated seeing in new years as often as Jim Hardwick - he’s just had his 105th birthday.
He was joined by family and friends for his own big day - on Friday, December 28 - at the Laurels and Limes care home, in Broomhill.
Jim, who was born at home on Myrtle Road, Heeley, in 1907, continued to live independently in the area until last year.
But failing eyesight meant he had to leave his home on Argyle Road, near Meersbrook Park, and move to the care home.
And though his eyesight may be failing his memory is still as sharp as a tack and he keeps staff and fellow residents entertained with recollections of his long life.
Jim recalled: “Things were very different when I was born. Because my birthday was so close to Christmas I had to make-do with a present that covered both occasions.” His earliest memories include a summer holiday to Blackpool in 1911 when he was aged just three and a half.
“I remember walking along the beach with my dad, and seeing other boys building sandcastles and putting flags on top of them,” said Jim, an only child, whose mum died when he was 10.
After leaving Carfield School, he went to work for his dad’s cutlery firm – James Hardwick & Son – in Heeley.
The business was sold in the 1930s and Jim went to work for Sheffield Council’s engineering department.
He said: “The engineering department had lots of different jobs, and one of the hardest was being a sewer rat.
“These were the men who worked below ground all day.
“They were paid extra but it was a hard job. I remember three of them drowning in a sewer when the Porter Brook flooded, near Ecclesall Road.
“I didn’t know the men personally, but it was very sad.”
Jim has been married twice, to Anne and Stella, who both died from cancer. He did not have any children but has a number of relatives who live in Sheffield and visit him regularly.
OTHER EVENTS IN 1907:
* Sheffield Wednesday – then called The Wednesday – beat Everton 2-1 at Crystal Palace with goals by Jimmy Stewart and George Simpson to lift the FA Cup.
* King Edward VII was on the throne.
* he SS Columbia sank after colliding with the lumber schooner San Pedro off Shelter Cove, California, resulting in 88 deaths.
* Actor John Wayne – real name Marion Morrison – was born.
* An earthquake in Kingston, Jamaica, killed 1,000 people.