RESIDENTS raised a mug of coffee and sang ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ in a rousing send-off for one regular Dorset Echo reader.
Ronald Willsher, 92, has lived in Broadwey since 1939 and will soon be moving to a care home in Preston .
He is a regular at Broadwey Village Stores and has gone into the shop every day to buy a copy of the Echo.
Owners Janet and Peter Blakey decided to throw Mr Willsher a coffee and cake party and dozens of residents packed into the store to give him their best wishes.
Mrs Blakey said: “We’ve been here 12 years and he’s come up every day. He’ll be missed.”
She added: “It won’t be the same without him. We wish him all the best for the future.”
Mr Blakey said: “He’s had a long and illustrious life. He was in Egypt during the war. He showed us a picture of him in a tent by the Pyramids.”
Mr Willsher and his late wife Dot, were familiar faces at Weymouth Football ground where they ran the fast food stand for many years.
Mrs Willsher was a nurse at Weymouth hospital and Mr Willsher was laundry superintendent at Portway Hospital where he worked for 30 years.
Dozens of residents sang ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’ and gave him three cheers.
Mr Willsher received presents and cards. He said he always brought the Echo and not a national paper.
He said: “I get the Echo every day and catch up on local news.”
He added that he really enjoyed the party, saying: “I have got a lot of friends here.
“I will miss everyone here.”
And he says he will still get the Echo at his new home.
Resident Lynne Palmer said she remembered Mr and Mrs Willsher running the stand at the Terra’s ground.
She said: “He’s a lovely fellow and I hope he’s very happy where he is going.”
Neighbour Caroline Rea has known Mr and Mrs Willsher since she was 14. She described the pair as ‘fantastic’.
She said: “He’s going to be greatly missed.”
She added that she would visit Mr Willsher in his new home.
Celebrations were also held for fellow Broadwey resident and shop regular Betty Puckett, 83, who is also moving to a new flat.
She said: “I shall be sad to leave Broadwey, but I’ll be back to see everyone.”