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Generation game: Family celebrates centenary's birthday
Five generations of the same family gathered to mark the 100th birthday of Dennis Hazell from Carpenders Park on Saturday.
Dennis was born in Chard, Somerset, on March 25 1914, the first son to parents who already had three daughters, although one died at just 12 months of age.
He remained in the area until he was nine years old before the family moved to Kilburn in north London.
There his father started his own building and carpentry business. After leaving school, Dennis had a number of jobs, including in the building trade until his father’s business failed.
He met his first wife and then ran a butcher’s shop in Great Tarpots, Essex, together with the man who would become his brother-in law.
He married Connie in 1939 and was called up to serve in World War Two, which he did for the duration.
He joined the RAMC 223 Field Ambulance and was regularly on the front line assessing and transporting the wounded to field hospitals.
He was with the second wave of D-Day troops on to the Normandy Beaches in 1944 and he says that throughout his Service, while many about him were killed or died of their injuries, he came home at the end of the conflict without a scratch.
On demobilisation he took a job with a pig farmer in Thundersley, Essex, were he learnt a new trade. He then moved the family to Matching Green, Essex, to become head pig-man, with a tied cottage, and then in 1957 to Kenton in Middlesex where he worked for meat distributors mainly on night-work.
He didn’t retire until he was 70 and in the latter years he worked as a driver for the Metropolitan Police Service chauffeuring "top brass" to meetings and ferrying policemen to trouble spots.
During the 1960s his marriage to Connie, with whom he had a son and a daughter, failed. Following their divorce he met and married his second wife, Violet, who already had two sons of her own. There were no other children.
The two branches of the family met in 1975, not long after he moved to Carpenders Park.
They have remained friends, much to the delight of Dennis, because "family" is very important to him.
Especially now, when he is known as "Grandad" to both his and Vi’s grandchildren, "Great Grandad" to their children; and then the newest arrival, to whom he is "Great Great Grandad" although, at only 12 weeks of age, he doesn’t yet know it.
Dennis survives his wives and has a younger sister, only 94, living in Wales.
His birthday yesterday went off very well and he received his Card from The Queen, together with numerous other cards, and enjoyed a meal out as well.
The full family gathering took place at Bushey Mill Resource Centre, 466 Bushey Mill Lane, Bushey, on Saturday afternoon.
In answer to the question ‘What do you want for your birthday?’ Dennis said he wanted nothing. He said people instead should make a donation to Cancer Research or Parkinsons UK as, family members had suffered from both diseases.
To this end his son John has up a "justgiving" site at www.justgiving.com/teams/dennis-hazell
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