London’s Oldest Man Celebrates His 108th Birthday in Jewish Nursing Home

Ben Raymond, a former hairdresser, credits 'positive outlook' and whisky for longevity

An orthodox Jewish man walks past a shop in Golders Green in north London, May 3, 2016.
HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS

A Jewish nursing home in London hosted a birthday party last week for a resident who is the city’s oldest man.

Ben Raymond turned 108, the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

At the party at Nightingale House Tuesday, the retired hairdresser celebrated with friends and family. He told a Chronicle reporter that he owed his longevity to a “positive outlook” and an occasional shot of whisky, though he has recently given up drinking and smoking his pipe for health reasons.

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Born in Bermondsey, in London’s East End, Raymond, a former member of Croydon Synagogue and later of Sutton and District Synagogue, opened a hair salon where his clients included aristocracy and film stars.

Charlton Heston got his hair cut at Raymond’s salon before the filming of “Ben-Hur” in 1959, Raymond told The Chronicle. He added that Heston gave him a tip of 10 pounds sterling, equivalent in purchasing power to around $230 today.

Raymond moved to Nightingale House in 2012 with his wife Millie, who died later that year. She also lived to be over 100. Their only son, Victor, also died in 2012, at the age of 70.

Ben and Millie Raymond met through their love of dancing, he told the British-Jewish paper, and got married in 1937.

He is said to be the third-oldest man in the United Kingdom.