He’s the oldest swinger in town – but don’t tell guitar-loving grandad George Newns to turn the music down.
Because the 99-year-old widower has just returned to one of his greatest passions, the Hawaiian guitar, despite being almost blind.
George, from Knowle, hadn’t banged out a tune for 70 years when he went back to the instrument as his eyes began to fail three years ago.
But his musical encore has gone so well that the pensioner, who turns 100 later this month, has made CDs of his performances for friends and relatives.
Completely self-taught, he plays either from memory or by listening to recordings on his computer and working out the notes on his guitar.
“Due to my sight, I can no longer read music so I play a lot of the songs from memory or by ear,” said George, who also plays the violin.
“A lot of the songs are ones I used to play in my youth – popular songs that were around at the time.
“If I want to learn a new song, I will listen to the tune on the computer, play it on my violin first and then transfer it to the guitar.
“It’s not easy, it takes a lot of working out.
“But I enjoy it.
“It’s a hobby for me. I have lost the majority of my sight so this is my only real pleasure now.
“Following my retirement, I had a real yearning to start playing the guitar again.
“The Hawaiian guitar is small to play and requires less energy.”
George started playing the violin and Hawaiian guitar when he was ten and later joined a band with two friends.
“My father told me I was to learn the violin as he also played,” he said.
“Our band was unique at the time, which made us very popular.
“We went our separate ways when the Second World War started, otherwise who knows where we could have gone?”
George, who has two sons, lost his wife Dorinne when she was 65.
And he encouraged today’s generation of youngsters to stick at the instrument they learned in school.
“If your parents encourage you to take up an instrument, stick at it, even if practice seems a bit of a chore,” he said.
“In later years it will provide solace, comfort, enjoyment and companionship second to none.”
George makes CDs of his music with the help of his son Christopher.
His 100th birthday on Saturday, January 24, will be marked with a concert by Solihull Symphony Orchestra at Shirley Methodist Church.
Tickets are available at www.solihullsymphony.org.uk or on 0121 704 6962.