Eastbourne College stalwart celebrates his 100th birthday

Wg Cdr Donald Perrens DSO OBE DFC was 100 on 1 January, and he enjoyed a special celebratory lunch at Eastbourne College as the guest of Headmaster Tom Lawson and his wife Jess. SUS-190117-095714001
Wg Cdr Donald Perrens DSO OBE DFC was 100 on 1 January, and he enjoyed a special celebratory lunch at Eastbourne College as the guest of Headmaster Tom Lawson and his wife Jess. SUS-190117-095714001

A RAF veteran has celebrated his 100th birthday at Eastbourne College.

Wg Cdr Donald Perrens DSO OBE DFC was 100 on January 1, and yesterday he enjoyed a special celebratory lunch at the college as the guest of headmaster Tom Lawson and his wife Jess.

He is pictured here blowing out the candles on his birthday cake with the help of his daughter, Pip Kirtley.

The Eastbournian Society, Eastbourne College’s extended family of ex-pupils, staff and parents, congratulated him on reaching 100.

Donald was appointed to the college staff by headmaster John Nugee in 1939 but the Second World War intervened before he could finally take up his post in 1946.

He was on the staff until 1981, during which time he ran the RAF section of the CCF before becoming commanding officer in 1954.

He was also at various times head of science, housemaster of Blackwater, acting headmaster and second master in the early 1970s, as well as a coach for tennis and hockey.

In the war Donald was commissioned into the Suffolk Regiment in 1940 and posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force, but managed to escape on one of the last allied boats to leave Cherbourg. By November 1941 he had transferred to the Royal Air Force and, after basic flying training, went with 225 Squadron to North Africa.