Henry George Collins - Wrington's Centenarian Extraordinaire                  from the February issue of the Village Journal                                         6th January, 2014
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At the beginning of this month, I went to see Henry Collins, Wrington's oldest male inhabitant. On 6 January he managed to achieve something that all but one of the current English cricket team had failed to do in Australia - he reached his century. The oldest of five children, Henry was born at Court Farm and attended the village school, where he remembers vividly Mrs Smith and the long-serving headmaster, Robert Hewitt. By the age of 8, he had already joined the church choir and was playing cricket regularly, something he went on to do for both Wrington and Congresbury, as well as serving as Secretary of the former. A year later, he got his first bike for Christmas, an exciting event, especially as it was preceded on Christmas Eve by the arrival of electric light in the Collins household. After attending Wellington School, Henry joined the family farm at 16, helping his father tend the dairy herd, sheep and pigs, in addition to looking after the arable crops. Milk provided the main income and it all had to get to the Milk Marketing Board factory at Yatton via the local train. A year after joining the farm, Henry was instrumental in setting up the Wrington Young Farmers' Club in 1930 and became a leading light. Henry married Esmé in 1942 and in 1945, shortly after the birth of their son, Alan, they moved to Iwood farm. The following year saw him join the Yatton Freemason Lodge, like his father before him, and in 1948 their daughter, Hazel, arrived. Henry has remained a great sports enthusiast throughout his long life, playing soccer for Wrington and hockey for Yatton, where he enjoyed great success over the years against some of the best local teams. As he approached middle-age he took up the gentler though exacting game of bowls. Again he excelled at this new sport, once only losing narrowly to a man who then had to go on and play the great David Bryant, then at the top of his game. Henry has always enjoyed singing and, after moving to Iwood, he was "poached" by the Congresbury church choir, finding himself singing the solos at St. Andrew's whist his father George was doing the same at All Saints’ in Wrington. Of course, Farmer Henry Collins never officially retired - he was still helping with the cows at 90 - but he now enjoys a more sedentary home life and has 4 grandchildren and 1 great grandson to carry on the work. On the day I visited, his sitting room was overflowing with 100th birthday cards including one, of course, from Her Majesty the Queen. So, Henry, the people of Wrington wish you a belated but sincere Happy Birthday. Mark Bullen