A man who bet £100 a decade ago that he would live to be 100 is preparing to pick up his £25,000 winnings this morning.
In 1997 bookmaker William Hill offered Alec Holden odds of 250-1. But the retired engineer, born on April 24 1907, celebrates his century today, to the bookies' dismay. Mr Holden, from Epsom in Surrey, said: "I've been very careful about what I've been doing in recent months. If I saw any hooded groups from William Hill standing in the street, I avoided them."
Mr Holden, who has two sons aged 70 and 60, puts his longevity down to porridge for breakfast.
He used to work as a teacher and a carpenter, and now plays chess every day, running a local club.
Meanwhile the bookmakers have raised the target age for bets from 100 to 110. Rupert Adams, spokesman for William Hill, said: "When we started taking these bets, 100 years old seemed to be an almost mythical landmark and we were prepared to offer massive odds. But these age wagers are starting to cost us a fortune. I am sure that Alec will get more pleasure from our letter than he will from the Queen's."