A TAUNTON man who survived a stroke 50 years ago has just celebrated his 105th birthday at a party for family and friends.

Sam Welland was born on March 4, 1913, more than a year before the outbreak of the First World War on the day that Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as President of the United States.

Mr Welland grew up in Hertfordshire before moving to Exeter after the Second World War and then on to Taunton, where he worked as an engraver at the UK Hydrographic Office, where a number of other family members were also employed.

After his stroke, he returned to work at the UKHO and later joined the Clovermarle Stroke Club, where he won the most improved bowler trophy at the age of 102, despite being a wheelchair user.

He is a keen sports fan and attended his first football match as a schoolboy, when his brother took him to see his favourite team Tottenham Hotspur.

These days he follows matches and results on television and in the newspaper.

Mr Welland marked his landmark birthday at Calway House, in Taunton, where he lives.

Dropping in to congratulate him were Taunton Deane Deputy Mayor Cllr Catherine Herbert, Tony Woollen, the governor of Taunton Moose, of which Mr Welland was a member for many years, Tony Woollen and Diane Rosling, the president of the Ladies Circle.

He received cards from the Queen and Taunton Deane Mayor Cllr Hazel Prior-Sankey.

He received a card from the queen to mark the occasion as well as one from the Mayor of Taunton, Councillor Hazel Prior- Sankey.

Sam is also a very keen gardener, and loved coming to Somerset where he could have a garden.

He still lives at home but has carers coming to see him a few times a day, and has constant support through friends like Jean.

Mr Welland added: "I remember when my wife and I got engaged, I was in Exeter and she was in London, she called me up one day and asked me to come and see her for the weekend.

"I told her I was going out with the boys, but I ended up going to see her, and we thought 'well, we might as well get married'."

One thing Sam says does help you live a long life is keeping your brain active, as he says he reads the paper everyday.

To find out more about the Clovermarle Stroke Club call 01823 252945.