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Harrogate RAF veteran receives 850 cards for 100th birthday

Stanley Clarke at Harrogate's Harcourt Gardens care home.

Former Harrogate RAF Captain Stanley Clarke has received more than 850 cards for his 100th birthday.

A social media message posted by the RAFSC & TSW (Royal Air Force Servicing Commando and Tactical Supply Wing Association) went viral, resulting in hundreds of cards sent to mark from around the world.

The message, which was posted on Facebook, asked supporters to send Stanley a 100th birthday card with the message "let's fill up his care home with cards". 

A fabulous response meant that Stanley, a former Servicing Commando, RAF Pilot and Station Commander of Swanton Morley, awoke on his 100th birthday to over 850 cards sent from former service men and women, supporters and well-wishers from as far afield as the USA, Canada and Australia.

Stanley is a resident at Harcourt Gardens in Harrogate.

Reflecting on the response to his birthday, Stanley said:

"I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who sent me these wonderful cards and gifts, this was totally unexpected and overwhelming but very much appreciated."

Stanley joined the Royal Air Force as an electrical fitter apprentice at 16 in 1940.

He volunteered for Commando training in 1942 and then spent the war in North Africa and Europe.

Stanley retired from the Royal Air Force in 1979 and now lives at Harcourt Gardens care home in Harrogate.

Alongside the unprecedented number of cards received from people nationwide, Stanley also opened his card from King Charles III on his birthday. 

Stanley celebrated his big day with a party with friends and family who travelled from Australia and Canada and an afternoon tea was arranged by staff at Harcourt Gardens. 

Adelina Pangilinan, home manager at Harcourt Gardens said:

"The cards just kept on coming, it was quite amazing.

"Nobody knew just how well the request would be received and it was absolutely wonderful to see the look on Stanley's face when we delivered him the cards.

"It's clear to see that Stanley, alongside all the other brave and admirable veterans are part of a very tight knit community and it's wonderful see the support and admiration for him."

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