Golden mo­ment Age was no hur­dle to Ralph

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By MELISSA JONES

SU­GAR, gar­den­ing and golf were the se­crets to the long life of the county’s old­est res­i­dent who has died aged 110.

Ralph Hoare, from Glouces­ter, loved keep­ing ac­tive and still had time for his hob­bies af­ter reach­ing three fig­ures.

When he told his nurse Rachel Buck­nell from the Aspen Cen­tre he was an avid horse rac­ing fan, she ar­ranged a spe­cial trip to the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year.

While there, Ralph, who lived through two world wars and saw five mon­archs as­cend to the throne, en­joyed sev­eral win­ners.

His daugh­ter Kate said: “He was not a big gam­bler but a per­sis­tent one.

“He had three win­ners and two sec­onds when we went to the Gold Cup. He would of­ten bet 10p on a race, 50p would be his max­i­mum. My fa­ther was a very sen­si­ble chap.

“He was thrilled to go to Cheltenham Race­course that day and kept the badges on his man­tel­piece.”

Dur­ing the visit to The Fes­ti­val, which he at­tended with Kate and neigh­bour David Blackwell, Ralph was filmed by sev­eral TV crews as he watched the ac­tion from his wheel­chair by the win­ning post.

Wrapped up against the cold, he was de­lighted to be in­tro­duced to young jockey Jack Kennedy, 91 years his ju­nior.

“He liked all sports,” Kate said. “It tailed off a bit in his later years but he used to go all over the place to visit race­courses, in­clud­ing Good­wood and Kemp­ton.

“When he was younger, he played cricket, rugby and ath­let­ics. He would keep up with matches on the ra­dio.

“His last words to my brother were: ‘What was the Ply­mouth Ar­gyle score on Satur­day?.’”

Born in Ply­mouth on July 19 1908, RAF vet­eran Ralph grew up in Devon and lived in Glouces­ter for around 60 years.

He was mar­ried to his late wife Dorothy for seven decades and they had two chil­dren, Kate and Michael.

He had six grand­chil­dren and the same amount of great-grand­chil­dren.

Even af­ter turn­ing 100, Ralph played at Glouces­ter Golf Club and tended to 200 roses in his Lon­glevens gar­den.

“He looked af­ter him­self on his own un­til he was 107,” Kate said. “He en­joyed do­ing cross­words and play­ing the piano.

“On the food front he liked any­thing sweet. He loved Bour­bon bis­cuits, sweet­ened grape­fruit, prunes and Ready Brek with su­gar on it.

“He was also keen on tripe and onions, he found it easy to di­gest.”

Speak­ing to the Rac­ing Post in 2018, Ralph, who was the UK’S third old­est man, re­called go­ing to see all of Arkle’s Gold Cup vic­to­ries at Prest­bury Park.

He raised a smile when he de­scribed how he met his fu­ture wife.

“I went to a friend’s house in Welling­ton and heard some­one play­ing the piano,” he said.

“I opened the door and sit­ting at the piano was a girl with black hair and a green dress.

“She was very at­trac­tive with a nice pair of legs. I thought there and then this was the girl I was go­ing to marry but it took me nine years.”

Ralph did not flag from 8am to 11pm when he vis­ited the race­course on the busiest day of the year and he was happy to take home win­nings of £3.50.

A spokesper­son for Cheltenham Race­course said: “We were de­lighted to wel­come Ralph and his fam­ily here to the race­course - I gather he had a won­der­ful time.

“Our thoughts are with his fam­ily.” Dona­tions for Ralph’s fu­neral are be­ing ac­cepted for Rail­way Chil­dren, which helps street chil­dren over­seas.

Kate de­cided it would be fit­ting to help the char­ity as she was in In­dia, one of the coun­tries where its good work is car­ried out, when he died on Jan­uary 29.

The ser­vice will take place at St Cather­ine’s Church, Lon­don Road, Glouces­ter, where Ralph was once trea­surer, on Fe­bru­ary 27 at 1pm. [email protected]­plc.com

Ralph Hoare at 110 and, right, in the RAF

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