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Royal birthday boy Ted celebrates his own 90 years

Ted Clifford in his decorated Clifford Chambers garden. Photo: Mark Williamson (C29/6/16/20)
Ted Clifford in his decorated Clifford Chambers garden. Photo: Mark Williamson (C29/6/16/20)

TED Clifford shares two patriotic links with Her Majesty The Queen.

This year he celebrated his 90th birthday, which makes him the same age as the Queen, and his big day itself was on Thursday, 2nd June — the date of her Coronation back in 1953.

Ted has lived in the same house in Clifford Chambers for the last 70 years and on his birthday he, with the help of relatives, including his niece, Brenda Whitbread, decorated his front garden with red, white and blue bunting to celebrate the start of Elizabeth II’s 63rd year on the throne and, of course, Ted’s own big day.

“I’ve never met the Queen but I’ve seen her a few times when she’s visited Stratford,” Ted said.

Born in Weston-on-Avon in 1926, Ted began his working life, aged 14, as a market gardener at Manor Farm in Luddington.

He spent many years there and helped feed the local community during the Second World War.

Later in life he was a builder, and finally, he worked for Stratford Town Council, tending the Bancroft Gardens and putting the international flags up for the annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations.

That’s when he got to see Royal visitors first hand, like the Queen.

He was married to his wife Margaret for 50 years until she died, and now he is partnered with his friend Ginny who has taken him camping.

They both live in Clifford Chambers, but in separate houses. Ted’s always been a patriot. In 1977 he remembers the village had a street party to celebrate the Silver Jubilee, and many years before that there was a Coronation party in Clifford Chambers’ Village Hall.

In 2000, Ted’s brilliant floral displays in his garden won him a Stratford in Bloom Award, so his green fingers and his love of the outdoors have served him well throughout his life.

On Saturday, Ted and his family and friends celebrated his 90th with a lunch party at Shottery Church Hall.

There was one notable absentee — the Queen.

But what if he had the chance to meet her, what would he say? “I’d wish her a happy birthday over a cup of tea,” Ted told the Herald.

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