HE might be 103 years old and counting but Walter James is still a dab hand when it comes to gadgets and is often found tapping away on his iPad.

On Tuesday, the pensioner celebrated his landmark birthday with a party, cake and glass of bubbly with fellow residents and staff at Merlin Court Care Home in Marlborough.

Up until last year, the father of five and granddad of six had been living on his own in Windsor, and before retiring was a journalist and lecturer, starting his career in newspapers at the Manchester Guardian in 1937.

He later went on to work as editor for The Times Educational Supplement before moving to New Zealand for three years and also stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate for the Bury Division of Lancashire at the 1945 General Election.

“He’s always been incredibly intellectually alert and interested and he reads the newspaper every day,” his son-in-law James Dickie said. “He’s adapted late on in his life to computers and his iPad and Kindle.

“I think really and truly it’s because he’s always had this very active mental life and interest in what’s going on in the world and what people are doing.

“He can remember he was in Berlin before the war. He saw the rise of the Nazi party, of which he was a journalist. He’s got an extraordinary memory.

“He’s had quite a remarkable, interesting life. He really does make the best of being alive as best he can.”

Born in 1912, Mr James has lived through two world wars, the birth of Queen Elizabeth II and death of Marilyn Monroe, among many more historical events.

He was educated at Uckfield Grammar School and Keble College in Oxford, where he received a First Class Honours in modern history.

Asked what his secret is, Mr James said: “My tip for a long life is plenty of red wine. To tell you the truth, there’s not a great difference from reaching 100. It doesn’t feel different as you get older. You go on feeling the same, your number just gets a bit bigger.”