World War II veteran Joe Wood celebrates 100th birthday in Newbridge

Tributes paid from across Ireland to RAF man who made Kildare his home

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World War II veteran Joe Wood celebrates 100th birthday in Newbridge

Joe Wood, pictured on his 100th birthday, by Maria McDonnell

World War II veteran and former RAF man Joe Wood, who has made Newbridge his home for over 20 years, celebrated his 100th birthday today.

Well-wishes flooded in from all over Kildare and further afield for the much-loved centenarian, who is originally from Barlborough in Derbyshire, and served in the Royal Air Force from 1941 to 1946.

Joe has many friends in Kildare, but no close family, and has been isolating during Covid-19. The Royal British Legion, Republic of Ireland, organisation, invited people to send birthday cards and greetings to Joe, which he enjoyed opening today. (Cards and notes for Joe can still be sent to Joe Wood, c/o RBL, 19 Molesworth St, Dubin 2).

Legion members from across Ireland also compiled a touching video of tributes to Joe on his 100th birthday.

Management and staff at Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge, where Joe is a well-known face, also sent their best wishes.

"A daily visitor to Whitewater Shopping Centre, Joe knows all the staff, many by name, and is particularly friendly with the security team in Whitewater Shopping Centre. We have lost count of the many girlfriends he has here. We wish you the best of birthdays, Joe, and look forward to seeing you back in Whitewater Shopping Centre once it is safe for you again and lockdown is over," they said.

A big 98th birthday celebration for Joe was held at the centre two years ago, for his last birthday before lockdown, when Legion chairman Brian Duffy was able to return the veteran's refurbished war medals and Danish Liberation Memorial Medal. He also presented Joe with his UK Veteran’s Badge.