John Tubman had Covid-19 and pneumonia last December (Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

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A man has beaten Covid-19 and pneumonia just weeks before turning 101.

John Tubman, 100, will celebrate his birthday on July 1 and says he has been incredibly lucky to live such a long life.

Last December, he spent five weeks in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus and falling ill with pneumonia, Wales Online reports.

He said: “Hospital is not a nice place to be. Not necessarily for yourself, but if you’re in a ward where there are another lot of old men, some of them are sad sights. So in that sense, the sooner I got home the better.

“It was deadly not being able to see my family. I couldn’t get in touch with my granddaughter. I had my little phone with me, but no – that’s what Covid did, it did keep people apart.”

Mr Tubman joined the RAF at 16 as a boy entrant
(Image: Jenny Coutts)

Miraculously Tubman recovered from Covid and built up his strength at home with the help of family members and carers.

During lockdown, he said he had “lots of help” from his family and said he never felt unhappy or angry.

Mr Tubman – who has two children, five grandchildren, six great-great grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild – is full of vitality and enjoys gardening, following cricket and watching the news.

He was born in Sedgefield, County Durham, but has been living in Cardiff since 1987.

Mr Tubman tested positive for Covid in December, but recovered
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

He attended school in the village of Waltham St Lawrence in Berkshire – and says he loved it.

When he was 16, he joined the RAF as a boy entrant and trained in a Commonwealth flying school in Canada.

His first flight was in a Tiger Moth and it took him nine hours of flying to be able to go solo.

His exploits in the RAF also led him to Wales and in Cardiff he met his future wife, Connie.

John and Connie Tubman on their wedding day in 1941
(Image: Jenny Coutts)

He said: “Part of my training was at St Athan. Just by sheer luck – I’ve had so much luck in my life, she’s one of them – my colleague and I just saw these two girls about to get on a double-decker at Kingsway near Cardiff Castle.

“These two girls got off the platform of the bus, and decided not to go and to walk home. That was right from Kingsway to Birchgrove. It just developed from that. Now how lucky can a chap be?”

After his RAF training, he was seconded to the Navy and joined the HMS Ark Royal, an aircraft carrier that served in the Second World War.

Throughout his career in the armed forces, Mr Tubman said he had “so many postings” that it would be difficult to recount them all.

The couple were married for 73 years
(Image: Jenny Coutts)

At the age of 21, in the midst of the war, he married Connie on August 23, 1941 at St Mary’s Church in Whitchurch, Cardiff.

It was a simple ceremony, he recalled, and Connie even made her wedding dress out of parachute silk.

“My mum thought, ‘John, do you really know what you’re doing?’” he laughed.

“Don’t forget – there were rations on then. Connie’s neighbours and friends and relatives all chipped in with a bit of butter, a tin of corn beef. It was such a simple, nice buffet and everybody was happy.”

Mr Tubman in Honolulu in the early 1980s
(Image: Jenny Coutts)

His work took him to Italy, then back again to Egypt, which is where he was based when the war finally came to an end.

Once in the UK, HE landed a job at British Petroleum, which he said he has “never, ever regretted”.

“I’d never worked for a company or anything like that. And as a result of that, I was anxious once I was demobbed, about the rest of my life. What was I going to do?” he said.

During this time, he also bought his first home with Connie near the research centre.

John Tubman on a world cruise in 1978
(Image: Jenny Coutts)

“Con had saved up because she worked at the ordnance factory during the war on a milling machine.

“I had a bit of demob money and my mum chipped in a bit as well. And so between the three of us, Con and I had a starter home and my mum came in with us.

“It was at Spelthorne, still near the research centre, and that first starter home was where we had both our children, a boy and a girl.”

He retired at 58, a chapter of his life which he said has been “lovely”.

While living in Ashford in Middlesex, he took up painting and the couple even went on a world cruise.

He said he feels lucky to have had such a long life
(Image: Jenny Coutts)

When his mother died, they decided to finally settle in Cardiff in 1987, where they lived ever since.

Mr Tubman said: “There was no question about moving before because my mum was with us.

“So when my mum died in 1986, I said to Con ‘Would you like to live in Wales near your family?”

On their 70th wedding anniversary, the couple got a card from the Queen.

Sadly, Connie passed away in 2013.

Mr Tubman was glad to return to his family after being in hospital in December
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

Last year, Mr Tubman celebrated his 100th birthday – and got another card from the monarch as well as a small party thanks to his neighbours.

The morning of his birthday, he said they all turned up on his front doorstep to sing happy birthday and even stuck a sign on his garage door that read “John Our Hero”.

He said he “never in a million years” thought he would live for a century.

Looking forward to his 101st birthday on 1 July, Mr Tubman said he will celebrate quietly with his family over an Indian takeaway and his usual glass of red wine.

When asked the secret to a long, happy life, the pensioner reiterates the importance of spending it with the right person.

He said: “Look, you’ve got to have married a really great person, like Connie. I mean we had our anxious times when we were younger with the kids and so on, you know – quite normal.

“But she was a very good woman. She was good. Spoiled me rotten, that’s the point. I mean I just never could do anything wrong for her. Lovely.”