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Former ‘Bevin Boy’ turns 100

A former ‘Bevin Boy’, who worked down the mines during the war, got a surprise this week when the Mayor of Southwark popped round to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Lawrence Furminger was born in the First World War and was conscripted to work down the coal mines in the Second World War to keep the British fires burning.

“I did it for the war,” the centenarian told good friend Tony Squires. “I wouldn’t have done it in peace time.”

The programme was named after Ernest Bevin, a former trade union official, so all of the 48,000 men sent down the pit for their country, were called Bevin’s Boys.

Lawrence has lived for 70 years in Landells Road in Dulwich, where he still likes to get out and about, getting the bus to Camberwell when he feels up to it.

Tony Squires, who has known Lawrence for 25 years desbribes him as”an amazing man” with an “adventurous spirit” because he always used to go off on his bike, cycling up to Scotland or down to the coast for the weekend on a moment’s notice.

“I was a cyclist till I was 40-years-old and did a lot of walking,” Lawrence told Tony. “I still try to go out and my long-time friend Tom who has looked after me and given me good care, who I would like to thank.”

“He loves this country,” added Tony, 62.

Lawrence never married or had a family. He looked after his mum until she died and then told Tony he felt it was ‘too late to start looking for a woman’.

He retired at 65 from his work repairing audio equipment and on the day of his 100th birthday party he said: “I am very happy to reach 100 years old but it’s very tiring.”

The Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Sunil Chopra was Lawrence’s surprise guest at his birthday party on Tuesday, although his actual birthday was on Sunday.

'Bevin Boys' receiving training in 1945
‘Bevin Boys’ receiving training in 1945

 

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