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100-year-old man is helping instill the joy of reading in schoolchildren after losing his wife

"My daughter suggested that to get some structure back into my life I do something I’m capable of doing," said Peter Offord Davies.

100-year-old man is helping instill the joy of reading in schoolchildren after losing his wife
Cover Image Source: Twitter / BBC Breakfast

A 100-year-old man from Macclesfield is the oldest person to be listed in the New Year's Honours this year, receiving a British Empire Medal. Peter Offord Davies, a Second World War veteran, commits his time to children at Dean Valley Primary School, Bollington, and encourages them to "enjoy reading". A guilder pilot during the war, Mr. Davies is an honorary Freeman of Coventry and an Honorary Alderman of Macclesfield. He was a part of the greatest airborne operations in history, a crash landing in Germany where the allied forces crossed the Rhine. He told Cheshire Live that after the passing of his wife, his life had taken a different turn which made him get some discipline back in his life.

“I was married for 72 years, and when my wife died, life changed dramatically," he said. "My daughter suggested that to get some structure back into my life, I do something I’m capable of doing – because I’m not very ambulatory, I can’t walk and run about these days, but I’ve still got my marbles. So, I went to the local school, and after I had passed all the necessary checks, I got into helping children to read and to enjoy reading,” he added. Mr. Davis added that when he received the letter from Horse Guards Parade in November, informing him of his accomplishments, he "thought it was a hoax or a scam of sorts." But after confirming the authenticity of the letter he said, he said, "My BEM is really the top of the heap.”


Mr, Davis subsequently made an appearance on television when was invited to Salford Quays to be interviewed along with the recipients of BEM, Dara Seamus McAnulty, 18. In February, Mr. Davies awaits his medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire. According to BBC, when his young students call him out on the streets, he "feels 10 feet tall". Dean Valley's Community Primary School's head teacher, Vicky McPherson, regarded Mr. Davies as "inspirational, generous, considerate and thoughtful". She adds, "He has gifted his time for so many children over the last six years to instill a love of reading that we will never be able to say thank you."



Mr. Davis on the other hand enjoys this time with kids and loves watching their confidence grow every day. "The kids are great - they are like sponges," he said. He debates that he gets more out of this whole ordeal than the children do and feels a warm sense of belongingness. "I'm not this old man who lives on his own. I'm part of the community, which is great," he said. Upon receiving an accolade for his good deeds, he concluded by saying, "I'm just a run-of-the-mill guy who does something which has helped me get through my week." Right behind Mr. Davis, the youngest recipient of the New Year Honours List, Dara Seamus McAnulty, a Northern Ireland naturalist, will leave his mark on the world.



As per BBC, Dara described this opportunity as a "validation" that young people can "make a difference". He is a multi-award-winning novelist and naturalist who was awarded a BEM for his contributions to the environment and the autism community. He acknowledged this nomination on Twitter saying, I believe the recognition encourages other young people that their voices are worthy and will be heard. Thank you so much to everyone who has already extended their congratulations. I’m so chuffed," reports The Impartial Reporter.  “Thank you everyone for the incredible support I’ve been shown over the years. I couldn’t do it without the encouragement and positivity I receive from so many.” 

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