FOOTBALL-mad Joe Cox celebrated his 100th birthday in front of thousands at a QPR match – with a Rangers legend presenting him with a special shirt.
Mr Cox, who has lived in West Drayton for 70 years, was a VIP guest at QPR’s Championship game against Millwall, along with his sons Ian and Rod.
He received a rousing reception from home and away fans at Loftus Road on Saturday, April 26, as he was invited on to the pitch to be handed a personalised shirt by former striker Stan Bowles, who made 315 appearances for the club in the 1970s.
Mr Bowles then accompanied Mr Cox to the home of his granddaughter, Wanda McGee, in The Larches, Hillingdon, for a party.
The event was attended by around 100 friends and family, with a firework display and the opening of the 100th birthday card from the Queen at the turn of midnight, the start of his birthday.
“There were hundreds of comments on Twitter from both sets of fans, people that we didn’t know,” said Mrs McGee. “It was absolutely incredible. Grandad was really thrilled.”
One of the fans at the game, @MonkeyPicks, posted on Twitter: “Nice half-time presentation to QPR fan Joe Cox, 100 tomorrow. Credit to all the Millwall fans joining the applause. Happy birthday Joe.”
On the Sunday, Mr Cox was taken by his stepdaughters Frances Searle and Sylvia Goodall to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Gala for St George.
The event celebrated England’s patron saint through songs, poems and readings.
Mrs McGee, 48, said that her grandad’s active lifestyle ‘puts most youngsters to shame’, and is the secret to his long life.
“My grandad is an inspiration to us all,” she added. “He still rides his pushbike and travels to Malaysia every year by himself to see his son Dennis and wife Vivien. He still plays green bowls, and dances.
“His next ambition is to be the oldest man in England.”
The former engineer, originally from County Durham, moved to west London in 1937. He settled in West Drayton in 1944, in the house he lives in today.
Mr Cox has been married twice, to Constance and May who, sadly, have both died.
He has four sons – Brian, 74, Dennis, 70, Rodney, 61, and Ian, 59 – and stepdaughters Frances and Sylvia, as well as 11 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and several great-great grandchildren.