SOMERSET'S very own Captain Tom Moore celebrates his 100th birthday this week.

George William Ward Laverton, known as Bob Laverton, was born on June 13 1921.

He served in the Royal Navy for 30 years, as well as helping to set up a charity, for which he raised more than £1million.

Mr Laverton lives in Horton, near Ilminster, with his wife Vanessa.

He has three sons, seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two step daughters.

After a long and varied career in the Royal Navy, Mr Laverton retired as a Lt Commander in 1971.

He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, France’s highest military honour, in 1944 for his bravery during the D Day landings.

When he left the military, he worked at Lloyds bank in Canterbury.

In 1983, he got to know The Rev Canon Lord Pilkington who had been a missionary in Tanzania in a leprosy colony.

Peter Pilkington, together with another missionary Father Robin Lamburn, Victor de Vaal, a former Dean of Canterbury, and Bob Laverton became the founding members and first trustees of The Rufiji Leprosy Trust, a charity established to support families affected by leprosy in a small Tanzanian village.

With his banking experience Bob was asked to be financial trustee, a role he held for 30 years only handing it over in his 90s.

In December 2004 he was awarded the MBE for services to the Rufiji Leprosy Trust. Over one and a quarter million pounds was raised with his support.

Chard & Ilminster News: Bob Laverton ; Puddlebridge near Ilminster ; 100 years old on June 13th 2021

"I feel very fortunate to have lived such a long and varied life, surrounded by my wonderful family, my wife Vanessa and many great friends," said Mr Laverton.

"My proudest achievement is the joint founding of the Rufiji Leprosy Trust.

"Around that and my working career; my love of vegetable gardening, fly fishing and cricket have kept me pretty busy. I've slowed down a bit on the cricket and fishing front but I'm still gardening.

"I never managed a century playing cricket, but on Sunday I will have achieved 100 Not Out!"

Mr Laverton played cricket for more than 20 years after the war, and for some years he has been the vice president of Horton & Broadway CC.

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