By Adam Dutton

Britain’s oldest worker has no plans to retire at the grand age of 98 – saying his job “keeps me young”.

Ivor Ward is still clocking on four days a week as a production operative at health company EM Pharma.

He started work at the firm when he was 80 following a career which included jobs in the Army and being a professional poker player.

He did retire when he was 79 but only managed one day before he got “so bored” he went job-hunting and joined EM Pharma near his home.

He now enjoys weekends drinking with his younger colleagues and playing poker with friends.

Ivor, from Rothley, Leics., said: “I had one day in retirement and it sent me nuts so I went back to work almost immediately.

“In our day when you left school you had to get a job. There wasn’t dole or benefits.

“A lot of older people who are just on their pensions, have a hobby. For the lonely ones it’s the biggest killer.

“I know so many people who just end up sitting at home all day.

“Then that’s deadly because you just end up getting up at 10am and sit all day in your pyjamas.

“Now at the weekends we have parties with the younger people. We drink, dance and create mayhem.

“I play poker and have a quiz. It’s like being at home with the family when I’m working.

“The day just goes by like lightning. It just generally keeps your mind busy and active.

“I do four days a week now. I do longer days on the four days. I work from 7am until 3pm Monday to Thursday.

“It’s great, in a way coming to work is like coming home.

“I know everyone here. I know the families, there’s always someone to talk to.

“The only alternative is to sit, there’s no one about in the daytime. It’s like purgatory.

“It’s a pleasure to come into work, otherwise I’d just be at home sitting on my own doing nothing, ageing fast. In here, we have a laugh.”

Ivor, who has four great-great-grandchildren, has worked non-stop since joining the Army as a Royal Engineer in 1943.

He rose to the rank of Lance Corporal before leaving the military at the end of the war and getting a job as a civil engineer.

He moved to another firm as an operations manager before trying his hand as a professional poker player.

Ivor added: “I worked pretty much non-stop until I was 79.

“Then the company I was operations manager for sold up and that was that.

“I managed one day in retirement before I had to start work again.”

The sprightly pensioner, who celebrated his 98th birthday last month, has lived alone for over 30 years since his wife Joyce died aged 63.

He says he intends to carry on working until he reaches 100 when he plans to have a gap year travelling the world playing poker.

He said: “I’m happy here. In two years when I’m 100 I’ll have a gap year. Then I’ll come back.

“I have been gambling around the world gambling so I’d like to visit the popular casinos again.

“End up skint or end up rich. Either is fine with me.”

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