The oldest man in Britain died in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, last week. He was 110 years old.
Rev Reg Dean was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, in 1902. He was ordained to the Church of England ministry as a young man, and was a Church of England minister and later a minister in the United Reformed Church until he was 80. At 80 he took up painting, and in his mid-eighties founded an award-winning male voice choir.
He had been married three times.
In World War II he was an Army chaplain in Burma. He told his son that at one point he was surrounded by Japanese. They taunted him, shouting "Johnny, we will come and kill you tomorrow." He spent the evening in prayer. The following morning, all the Japanese had disappeared.
In 2011, speaking (at his 109th birthday party?) to an audience of elderly people, he told them: "There are three questions you must learn to try to answer. One is 'Who am I?' Two is 'Why am I here?' And three is 'Where am I going?'
Spot on. Those are questions that plague all of us at one time or another. Those questions do have answers. It's so important before you go right through life and tumble into eternity that you're sure you've found them.