Celebrating an important milestone, his 100th birthday on Thursday past, was Ronald J. Hornby, best known as Ron, who made his home in Fermanagh 30 years ago.

The special birthday boy, who now lives in Lisnaskea, and featured in the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest best man, was born on October 5, 1917, in Dartford, Kent. 

“He travelled as a baby from England to India where his father was stationed as a Sgt. Major in the Highland Light Infantry,” recalled a family member this week, who added:
“They stayed for two years but so many English children died there that his father left the army to come home to Kent where his sister Audrey was born.”

Following his education, he started work in aeronautical engineering as an aeronautical design engineer working in Rochester, Kent. 

During the war, he was in a reserved occupation, and he married his childhood sweetheart in 1940. 

In 1947, he and his wife, Bennie Hornby and their young son Robin moved over to Belfast. 

He joined Short Brothers and Harland and Wolff where he rose through the ranks to senior executive until his retirement in 1982. 

His daughters June and Pamela were born and raised in Belfast.

He was most proud of working on the engine and undercarriage controls of the Short Stirling, the Belfast and the Short Skyvan. The first plane he worked on the Sunderland - played an important role in WW2 located on Lough Erne in Castle Archdale.

His three children graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast, of which he was very proud. His wife died in 1983 after he retired. 

He met Frances and they married in 1987 and then moved to Fermanagh, his adopted county, for the rest of his days. 

Frances was a member of the Johnston family from Lammy, Magheraveely, and hence their return to her native county.

Ronald was a motorcyclist enthusiast of British motorcycles. Among his experiences were trying his hand at downhill skiing and ice skating.

While gardening at their house in Magheraveely, he always wore a tie no matter what the occasion - much to the humour of the farmers.

He was a long time member of the rambling club, enjoying this activity with a great bunch of like minded walkers.

Ronald was talented at drawing, which he used to illustrate writing in his diaries. He loved travelling, cricket, rugby and reading.

To mark his 100th birthday, they were having a party in Drumhaw Fold, Lisnaskea, at lunchtime last Thursday. 
Donations in lieu of presents will be going to the RNIB and NI Chest, Heart and Stroke.

Ronald was looking forward to the celebrations, when he was being joined by many family and friends.