Peterborough great-great grandfather with ‘great sense of humour’ passes away aged 105

A great-great grandfather with a “great sense of humour” has passed away at the age of 105.

Tuesday, 7th May 2019, 4:43 pm
Bert James celebrating his 105th birthday
Bert James celebrating his 105th birthday

Albert George James (Bert) died peacefully on Monday, April 29 in the Stroke Ward at Peterborough City Hospital after a few weeks of loving care from the wonderful team of NHS staff, his son David said.

The dad of four, grandad of nine, great-grandad of 15 and great-great grandad of one was known to Peterborough Telegraph readers for riding his exercise bike every day until his recent illness.

He also featured in the PT after celebrating his 105th birthday with a cherished card from the Queen, as well as a card, signed photo and personal video from former Page 3 model Linda Lusardi which delighted him.

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Bert playing dominoes

Son David said: “He was a quiet, friendly man with a great sense of humour who loved his family and cherished his friends. He would take every opportunity for a family party, the last being his 105th birthday in March.”

Bert was born and raised in Peterborough, the son of Jane (née Drake) and William Thomas James. He lived in Gladstone Street then Dingley Court in Westwood. He was preceded in death by his two brothers Bill (100) and Jack (96).

His loving wife Joey – Josephine (née Drake) - died in 1990 and he lived completely independently after that, even driving himself to the New England Club in Occupation Road to see friends until he reached 101 years of age.

As well as riding his exercise bike every day, as a young man he was a keen long distance cyclist and a member of Peterborough Cycling Club where he met and fell in love with Joey.

Bert with his son David James on his 105th birthday EMN-191003-184058009

She kept an unopened box of Black Magic chocolates that he gave her on their first date which was discovered during a house clearance last year - 66 years later.

Joey had kept them as a memento of her dream day. That special box is now displayed in the York’s Chocolate Story museum to enthral visitors with the love story behind it.

A skilled carpenter by trade, Bert was seconded during the Second World War to build wing parts for bombers including the Lancaster. At night he would watch for fires from the top of the cathedral for the Auxiliary Fire Service with whom he served for many years in peacetime.

After spells in the building trade and railway bridge and crossing maintenance, most of his working life was with Baker Perkins at Westwood until he retired in 1979.

Bert with the recently discovered box of Black Magic chocolates EMN-191003-184120009

He leaves behind daughters Maureen, Pat, Sheila and son David, as well as his extended family.

David said: “All those who knew him are welcome to join in the celebration of his life at Peterborough Crematorium at 3.30pm on Wednesday, May 15. You are all invited to wear a splash of colour to rejoice in the richness and happiness of Bert’s life.

“To add to his wonderful legacy, instead of floral tributes donations are requested to the Stroke Association.”

A collection will be made after the service and a JustGiving page can be found at