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Rotarian war vet celebrates 90th birthday in style

Hamilton Rotary Club yesterday celebrated the 90th birthday of one of its past presidents, Owen H Darrell.

Mr Darrell, who turned 90 on March 16, took the occasion to pass on some sage advice.

“Never grow old,” he told the Rotarians. “Just stay young for as long as possible.”

Mr Darrell attended the Rotary lunch with his wife Pamela and their daughter Joy and her husband Patrick Jones.

The family was treated to a coronet rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ by current president Barrett Dill; vice president Greg Smith read details of Mr Darrell’s life. Born in 1921 at Pitt’s Bay Road, Mr Darrell was named a Rhodes Scholar in 1940.

He attended Oxford University in the UK, but his education was interrupted with five years’ service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

Mr Darrell is the only Bermudian known to have served on the notoriously dangerous navy convoy that supplied the Soviet allies with war materials through Murmansk.

In recognition of his service, Mr Darrell was awarded a medal from Russia on the 60th anniversary of the war, in 2005.

He joined Hamilton Rotary in 1971 and was an active member for nearly four decades, serving as president from 1982 to 1983.

Mr Darrell also presided over the Bermuda Historical Society in 1959. He has written on the life of Sir George Somers, and on the history of the Rotary Club in Bermuda. “When you near the age of 90, it’s time to make room for posterity,” Mr Darrell joked yesterday. “Once you’re past 90, it’s high time.”

He and his wife, who celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2008, said they are enjoying the summer quietly with friends and relatives. “I have to live from day to day at my age and I’m enjoying it very much,” Mr Darrell added.

Hamilton Rotary held a special 90th Birthday Celebration for Past President Mr. Owen Darrell at the Royal Amateur Dinghy Club yesterday. They serenaded the elder Rotarian with songs and the current President played his cornet.

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Published August 17, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 17, 2011 at 10:05 am)

Rotarian war vet celebrates 90th birthday in style

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