A SECOND World War RAF medic has celebrated his 100th birthday with a laid-back gathering of friends in his garden.

Born two years after the end of the First World War, Barry Homer spent 44 years working in the advertising department at Lucas, a manufacturer of vehicle parts based in Birmingham, before moving to north Herefordshire.

Since moving to Bredenbury, near Bromyard, in 1992, Mr Homer has been involved with the town's badminton club, with fellow members visiting him at his home on June 30 to celebrate becoming a centenarian.

His son David said a steady stream of friends passed by during the afternoon to give Barry their "birthday wishes, leave presents, and hear his words of wisdom".

He said Barry lives with his second-wife Irene who explained how he joined the RAF in February in 1940 as a nursing orderly. He went on to serve in the Middle East as the only medic on small units of about 50 men.

Five years later at the end of the war, his only thought was "thank goodness, now I can go home".

He volunteered to return home as escort to a patient who needed medical attention during the flight. He still remembers how it felt to fly back into England after four years away, and said the memory of seeing the White Cliffs of Dover still brings a lump to his throat.

"From 1954 to 1981 he was also totally involved and responsible for all Lucas motor racing and motorcycle racing success advertising and circuit advertising," Mrs Homer said.

"He also entertained, in conjunction with the Lucas catering department, in pit lane suites at Donnington Park, Silverstone and Brands Hatch."

Irene added 1961 was a difficult year for both Barry and David, then aged 12, when Blanche died after a prolonged illness.