Reg Dean

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Thomas Reginald Dean (4 November 1902 – 5 January 2013)[1] was a British supercentenarian. Dean was the oldest living man in the United Kingdom after the death of 108-year-old Edward Anderson on 22 March 2011[2] and the oldest British-born man since the death of Claude Choules (who was born in England but later emigrated to Australia and died there) on 5 May 2011. Dean was, at the time of his death, aged 110, the sixth oldest British man ever,[2] as well as the second-oldest living man in Europe (behind Italian-born Arturo Licata), and the last surviving British man born in 1902.[citation needed]


Dean was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, on 4 November 1902.[1][3] Dean was ordained as a minister in the 1920s. He worked as an assistant chaplain in Singapore in the 1930s.[4] He served as an army chaplain in Burma and India[5] during World War II.[3][6][7] After his return to the United Kingdom, Dean moved to Derby in 1947,[4] and in 1958 he became a teacher, and worked as such in Belper in Derbyshire for ten years.[3]

Dean was a minister at the United Reformed Churches in Wirksworth and Matlock,[8][9] and retired from the ministry at the age of 80.[1][3] He was an enthusiastic actor, singer, and amateur dramatist[6] and in 1987,[7] he helped found the Dalesmen Male Voice Choir,[3] of which he was life president.[3] Dean supported Fair trade and he helped create Traid Links, in Wirksworth.[10]


Dean was married three times.[4] His first wife went into the cellar of a house where she was staying in for a short period of time and the other people in the house accidentally locked her in this cellar, making her unable to get out and causing her to die of hypothermia.[4] His third wife, Anne, was a colleague of his; they later divorced.[4] Anne is still alive today and later remarried.[4] Dean had a son named Christopher, born in either 1949 or 1950.[3] He also had two grandchildren.[3] Christopher Dean leads the Syd Lawrence Orchestra.[10] One of his nephews was television presenter Nick Owen.[11]

Possible reasons for longevity[edit]

Dean was a vegetarian for thirty years. He attributed his vegetarianism, in addition to being lazy,[12] having good friends and a religion, and looking for the best in people, as the secret to his longevity.[3] Dean lived independently until 2007/2008, when he moved into a flat in Derbyshire.[6] He also mentioned just before his 110th birthday that when he lived in Mumbai just before World War I,[12] a doctor gave him a mysterious brown elixir ("this muddy mixture", as Dean called it)[12] and told him that "if [he would] drink this [he] will live forever"[10] or that if he would "drink this [he'll] live until at least 100".[12]

On every birthday since his 100th, Dean began wearing a flower on his lapel.[6] Apart from sight problems,[6] Dean said at his 108th birthday that he was still in good health.[3] On his 109th birthday, Dean joked that "[he] thought [the Queen had] forgotten [him]" when his birthday telegram from the Queen that year arrived late.[6] Dean said on his 109th birthday that he still hoped to live to his 110th birthday next year,[7] which he did. However, he was unable to attend a celebratory concert held the previous evening, and also had to receive his cake in bed due to not feeling well recently.[1]

He said on his 110th birthday that he thought that he would reach age 111 next year and (perhaps jokingly) that he might be able to reach ages 115,[4] 120,[13] and 130.[12] Dean died in January 2013, just two months after his 110th birthday. Dean was succeeded as the United Kingdom's oldest living man by 109-year-old Ralph Tarrant.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d "Reg Dean, Britain's oldest man, dies aged 110". BBC News. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Oldest Men – Oldest people from Britain". 6 December 2005. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "UK's oldest man Rev Reg Dean celebrates 108th birthday | Mail Online". London: 10 November 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Dugan, Emily (4 November 2012). "110 not out! Britain's oldest man". The Independent (London). 
  5. ^ "The secret of living 110 years? Britain's oldest man says it's all to do with a magic potion from India". Daily Mail (London). 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Kevin Rawlinson (4 November 2011). "Britain's oldest man Reg Dean celebrates 109th birthday – Home News – UK". London: The Independent. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "BBC News – 'Britain's oldest man' Reg Dean marks 109th birthday". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (4 November 2011). "Britain's oldest man Reg Dean celebrates 109th birthday". The Independent (London). 
  9. ^ "The secret of living 110 years? Britain's oldest man says it's all to do with a magic potion from India". Daily Mail (London). 
  10. ^ a b c Reg to celebrate 110th birthday – Local – Bakewell Today
  11. ^ "Reg Dean, Britain's oldest man, dies aged 110". BBC News (BBC). 7 January 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Britain's oldest man marks 110th birthday". BBC News. 4 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Britain's oldest man aged 110 credits 'magic potion from India' for longevity
  14. ^ Ralph Tarrant Britain's oldest man reveals secret to hitting 109 years old: 'I smoked until I was 70 and still enjoy a drink!' | Mail Online. (8 January 2013). Retrieved on 1 March 2013.