A FORMER welder celebrated his 80th birthday with friends and family.

Alfred Ernest Dowdell marked the occasion with a family meal at the Seven Stars pub in Wool.

And the great-grandfather of three has only just retired.

Granddaughter Shelley Carter said: “He retired in January after working at Portland Stone for most of his life.

“It was his whole life and he had a lot of friends there.

“He did try to retire when he was in his 60s, but he got bored and went back to work.”

The father-of-five was born in Berkshire and moved to Portland after meeting his wife Islay.

Shelley describes the pair, who married in 1956, as “a very devoted couple”.

She said: “They met when he was in the merchant navy, and she was born and bred on Portland.”

The couple settled on the island and had five children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Shelley added: “He is definitely a real family man and a happy and contented person.”