A FORMER rail worker is celebrating a special recognition from the Queen after reaching the age of 100.

On Wednesday, Leslie Charles Matthews, of Griffithstown, celebrated reaching his century with family and friends.

He was born in Cardiff in 1917, before moving to Griffithstown in 1922. He was the eldest of four children.

At the age of 16, he started work at Great Western Railway, Pontypool, and had many roles throughout his career, from fireman and steam locomotive driver, to working at British Steel in Llanwern.

He took voluntary redundancy aged 62 and was happily married to his wife Ethel for more than 59 years, having three sons – Mike, Chris and Hugh.

He now has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and still lives in his own home.

He was described as “sociable and always up for a laugh” by his family, and said he believes the secret to a long life is “plenty of exercise, fresh air and the odd tot of whisky”.