CELEBRATIONS are in order for a war veteran turned CCTV volunteer who is celebrating a milestone birthday today.

Colin Cole was born on June 12, 1919 and despite reaching the ripe old age of 100, still volunteers at Oswestry Police Station as a CCTV operator – something he only started doing aged 96 when a friend put his name forward.

For the past four years, Colin, who lives in Gobowen, has volunteered every Tuesday and Friday for two hours at a time – even driving himself there too.

Colin said: "It keeps me occupied and my mind well.

"I enjoy meeting people and keeping up with the times keeps me going.

"We've caught a few criminals since I started here – but don't blame me for that."

Although he only started overlooking the streets of Oswestry at the grand age of 96, his passion for volunteering started in 1938, when he joined the Special Constabulary of the Met in London.

He then dedicated six years of his life to the Air Sea Rescue branch of the Royal Air Service while based in Little Hampton.

"I was a Wireless Operating Mechanic who picked up survivors of emergency landings in the North Sea and the Channel.

"I did this for the whole of the second world war," Colin said.

After the war, Colin, who was originally born in Kent, moved up to Shropshire in 1947 with his late-wife Joan to whom he had been married to for 74 years, who had connections to the county.

Both of them ended up in the education sector, with Colin teaching at the former National School, Welsh Walls in Oswestry and Joan being the headmistress of Trefonen school.

Colin was then a special needs advisor, offering advice and training at schools across north Shropshire.

"I've been retired for 40 years now – but when I did retire, I was asked to be headteacher at Porthywaen, which I did for a term.

"I've actually been retired for longer than I worked."

Aside from the volunteering, in his spare time Colin enjoys reading and going out with friends for lunch, which he does weekly – he also enjoys the odd glass of wine.

"I come into Oswestry pretty much every day – keeping busy keeps me mentally fit since my wife died five years ago," he added.

James Stafford, CCTV coordinator, said: "We had a call from a friend of Colin's putting his name forward to be a volunteer.

"We had a few volunteers at the time – the youngest being 19 – we didn't have an upper age limit so I called him and invited him down.

"He's remarkable for his age – he's still driving, he walks fast and hardly ever wears his glasses.

"Colin is a valuable member of the team – a real gentleman."

As for the secret to a long life... Colin, said: "I've just been lucky really."

Colin will be celebrating his birthday today (12th) with a small family do at home. When he is volunteering next he will be tucking into a buffet with his colleagues at Oswestry police station.