Tributes have been paid to London’s oldest man, who died on Monday at the age of 108.
Ben Raymond was described by his care home last year as “London’s oldest man” and was said to be the third oldest man in the United Kingdom.
Raymond, of Sutton United Synagogue shul, was born in Bermondsey in 1911, the youngest of four children. He moved to Nightingale House in Clapham in 2012 with his wife of 76 years, Millie. The two married in 1937 after meeting at a dance academy in Piccadilly.
Raymond, who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, later trained and worked as a hairdresser. His salon in Marble Arch boasted an illustrious clientele, comprising A-listers and members of the aristocracy, such as the actor Charlton Heston and the Crown Prince of Arabia, who was a client in the 1950s.
Raymond’s nephew Leon Schacter paid tribute to the “born entertainer, always looking at the bright side, quick to laugh and to share a story, always with a twinkle in his eye.”
“He enjoyed life to the fullest and was a fantastic husband to his beloved Millie for 76 years. He will be missed. We thank all at Nightingale for their fantastic support over the last 8 years,” he added.
Helen Simmons, chief executive of Nightingale Hammerson, said the care home “family misses Ben terribly.” She said: “He was full of wonderful stories, many of which centred around his hair salon where his clients included aristocracy and film stars.
“He loved dancing and put his long life down to having a positive outlook on life and the occasional shot of whisky; he had only recently given that up along with smoking his pipe for health reasons. He died at Nightingale House in line with his wishes and had been receiving palliative care.”
It is not known whether he died of covid-19, as no coronavirus test was available when he died, a spokeswoman for the care home said.
Rev Shmully Aronson, who officiated at his funeral on Tuesday, described him as a “very positive, happy-go-lucky man” and said that he would be remembered as a “very grateful person.”
“He will be dearly missed in the community and he will be remembered as a humble, positive and grateful person,” he added.