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Bill, 100, a bit shellfish on big day!

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:53 02 June 2010

Loving those lobsters - Bill Just.

Loving those lobsters - Bill Just.

Bill Just has seen a fair bit of life in the 36,500 or so days he has been on this planet.

The war veteran served in campaigns including North Africa and Italy, boxed for the Army, has lived through the reigns of five kings and queens and been governed by 18 prime ministers.

Bill Just has seen a fair bit of life in the 36,500 or so days he has been on this planet.

The war veteran served in campaigns including North Africa and Italy, boxed for the Army, has lived through the reigns of five kings and queens and been governed by 18 prime ministers.

But with just one day until he reaches his 100th birthday there is one little indulgence Bill has regretted missing out on…..eating lobster!

However, after a long-running joke with his favourite fishmonger, Bill was able to finally sample the shellfish delicacy just before his big day tomorrow.

Bill, who lives at Sporle, has been visiting the stall run by fishmonger and smokehouse operator GR Bunning and Co, of Cranworth, on Swaffham Market ever since they started there about 35 years ago.

Plaice and skate are Bill's usual purchases from George Bunning and his son Richard.

About three years ago Bill, a former French polisher, quipped that he'd like to try lobster - but didn't want to part with about a tenner of his hard-earned cash in case he didn't like it.

So the Bunnings told him that when he reached his 100th birthday they would give him one free.

Every week come rain or shine Bill turns up at the popular market and has kept reminding the father and son duo about their pledge.

Finally on Saturday the promise was kept - and a pair of lobsters freshly caught off the Norfolk coast were placed free of charge into Bill's hands.

Bill has already tried his early birthday present and his verdict was that they tasted quite nice but it wasn't really for him.

However he was very pleased and offered thanks all round.

Bill has become a real character among the market regulars, many of whom can't believe he is almost a centenarian due to his fitness and sharp wit.

The handover of the special birthday present caused even more banter than usual on Saturday.

“I reckon he'll live 'til his 110,” said George Bunning, who also runs stalls at Dereham, Hunstanton and Watton markets as well as farmers' markets. “He's a marvellous old boy and really looks after himself.”

Richard Bunning said: “Everyone is surprised when they hear how old he is. We did say if he reached 100 we would give him a free lobster and he never forgot it and kept reminding us.

“I gave him two because they were not very big. There has been rough weather all week so they haven't caught many. I thought he deserved two because he has waited long enough!”

Bill added: “I put having a long live down to eating their fish. I have hardly missed a week of coming to the market for 35 years.”

Bill got a full briefing on how to eat the lobsters - and liked the sound of putting some mayonnaise on his lobsters and nodded intently as he was told he could eat it all, including the shell.

Richard said: “He did ask if there is anything in it which will kill him!”

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