MEMORIES came flooding back for 100-year-old former RAF pilot Ray Roberts when he took to the air in a Spitfire, reports the Daily Express.

Ray, from Margate, Kent, took part in the flight at London's Biggin Hill to help mark the centenary of the former RAF airport which played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain.

He had to use a walking aid on the runaway to take his place in the legendary fighter plane.

Ray joined the RAF in 1940 and trained as a pilot but was injured the same year when his parachute failed to fully open after he bailed out of a Spitfire. 

He became a member of the Caterpillar Club, a group of servicemen and women who have jumped from a stricken aircraft and survived to tell the tale. 

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Another 'old-timer'in the news is 93 year old Nelson Foyle, who has been handed a special award by fellow drinkers,for being a regular at the Dog and Gun pub in Netheravon, Wiltshire for over 80 years.

The Daily Express says that Nelson estimates he has drunk around 40,000 pints of beer at the pub.

Apparently he sampled his first taste of alcohol when he sneaked into the beer cellar there at the age of 12 with the landlord’s sons.

He commented: “I usually drink two and a half pints each time but sometimes I could have four, it depends on how many good-hearted people are in the pub at the time.”

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An article in the Daily Mirror reports that metal detecting enthusiasts Iain and Sheila Gunn, from Heath Charnock, Chorley, Lancashire have found the second half of a rare 450 year old silver love ring – three years after finding the first half.

It had the word “Yours” inscribed on it but when the second half was discovered, and the two pieces put together the complete inscription was revealed - I Am Yours.

Sheila said: “The ring was in a field that was ploughed twice since the first part was found.

“Iain found the first part and he thought he would just go round the same area in the remote chance he could find the other bit. It’s small, but beautifully decorated with nice letters.”

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A early lithograph print by the renowned artist David Hockney which had been displayed for years in a fish and chip shop in Eccleshill, Bradford is to be sold by Christie's in London,

The Guardian says the print was given to the chip shop by the 17 year old Hockney who lived around the corner when he studying at the nearby Bradford School of Art.

Murray Macaulay, the auction house’s head of prints, said: “There is something wonderful about a local chippy with a rare Hockney hanging above the fryer.”

The artwork shows a smart young Hockney, pre-peroxide, leaning on the counter as his food is prepared by owners Hayden and Janet Smith, who were friends and neighbours of the Hockney family.

Hockney hand-made five or six prints and, as a token of his appreciation, gave one to the Smiths, who displayed it above the fryers – “not that advisable for a work on paper,”said Macaulay – until the shop’s closure in 1970.

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More art in the news as the Guardian highlights a treat for art lovers with a story that over 50 rarely seen drawings regarded as some of the finest of any from the Renaissance and Baroque periods are to be exhibited together at the National Portrait Gallery in London from July 13 to October 22.

Its first-ever exhibition of old master European portrait drawings, with works from the 15th to the 17th centuries by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer, Holbein, Rubens and Rembrandt, will feature drawings that are seldom viewed because of their sensitivity to light.

Gallery director Nicholas Cullinan said: “Some of the drawings were perhaps never intended to leave the artists’ studios, but are arguably among the most engaging and powerful impressions of personal likeness in the history of art.”

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Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)