Asked for the secret of his long life, retirement village resident, Jim Mearns joked that: “It’s wine, women and song, that keeps me going.”
And all three were very much in evidence as Jim was joined by his second wife, Margaret, family, friends and fellow St Monica Trust residents to celebrate his 105th birthday.
Born on 15 May, 1918, Glaswegian Jim emigrated to the United States with his parents when he was five years old.
Jim and his family lived in Lorraine, Ohio where his father worked at the local steelworks.
While Jim was attending high school, he won a state singing competition, which led to an offer of a scholarship to study music at Oberlin College.
Unfortunately, Jim’s parents had already made the decision to return to Glasgow after he graduated from high school.
Back in the UK, Jim pursued a successful career as a pharmacist, earning his master’s degree in pharmacy and eventually settling in Bath to teach in the Pharmacology department of Bath University.
But Jim never lost his passion for music and continued to sing ballads and love songs in pubs, clubs and at family gatherings throughout his life.
A multi-recorded artist, Jim is also a member of 1904 Bristol Arts, a society which celebrates art, music and the performing arts.
After the cutting of the birthday cake, one of the society’s members read out a song, which was written in honour of Jim’s 105th year.
The last two lines read:
“Others have soared, then in an instant gone
Jim, unassuming, simply ‘carries on’”
This is Jim’s second time around as a resident of the St Monica Trust. He lived at the Bristol retirement village in 2000 for three years, before moving out to live with Margaret in Bournemouth.
After getting married and travelling, Jim and Margaret returned to live at the St Monica Trust in 2014.
Cote Lane Retirement Village Manager, Ruth Taylor said: “Jim is so well loved and admired within our Cote Lane community, where he has lived with Margaret for the last nine years.
“It was wonderful to celebrate Jim’s very special birthday with Margaret, his family, friends and, of course, a magnificent cake.”