A MAN has celebrated his 100th birthday as he looked back at a life full of moths, family, and the military.

Ray Birchenough, of Dorstone, had three birthday parties in celebration of reaching his grand age.

The first saw a family party in Hampton Bishop, the next was with his wife’s family and the third with his village at The Pandy Inn, in Dorstone.

Mr Birchenough was born in Anerley, south London, in July 1922, where he lived with his parents, grandparents, two brothers, and a sister until he was ten.

The family moved to West Wickham and in 1938 he joined the Methodist church, starting a 45-year-long membership during which, he would serve as youth club leader and on many committees.

Hereford Times: Ray Birchenough is celebrating turning 100 years old Ray Birchenough is celebrating turning 100 years old


As a child Mr Birchenough was very interested in outdoor life and natural history and when he was about seven, he noticed caterpillars feeding on a hedge in the front garden, which he later learned were magpie moths.

This was his first experience with Lepidoptera which was to be a lifetime interest.

He recorded his moths for butterfly conservation for many years and held the record for the greatest number of moths recorded in Herefordshire.

Mr Birchenough later went to technical college and started work in the research laboratories of Burroughs and Wellcome which during the war was a reserved occupation.

He volunteered to join the RAF and was selected to train as a navigator. He later chose to join the medical corps before marrying girlfriend Joyce in 1944.


Hereford Times: Ray Birchenough celebrated his birthday with three parties Ray Birchenough celebrated his birthday with three parties

He moved on to the London Hospital Medical College in 1948, retiring from his position there as chief technician in the anatomy department in 1984.

In March 1952 Mr Birchenough and his wife joined a self-build group which eventually built 25 bungalows, moving into their own in August 1956.

He was finally able to have a moth trap in his garden and recorded moths in the area until 1986, when the couple moved to Herefordshire to be nearer to their daughter and grandchildren, settling in Dorstone.

Mr Birchenough also enjoyed being in a new area for moths and butterflies and watching the birds.

He later became a member of the village hall committee and then a governor of the primary school.

After Mrs Birchenough’s death in 1998, he married Toni.

Now they enjoy the garden and two cats, along with a selection of birds, and they live a quieter life enjoying the company of friends and each other.