Here’s to all of us!

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The Jersey Evening Post arranged the special toast from Islanders born in 1926 in the suitable surroundings of the Royal Square.

The group included resistance hero Joe Miere, who survived three spells in prison during the German Occupation and is one of our leading authorities on the period.

Joe will turn 80 three months after the Queen – but he nearly did not make it through his first week because he was so ill.

Born to a Norman father and a Breton mother, he feels British despite his French roots and is loyal to the crown.

Last year he and his wife Marie attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace and the special dinner laid on for the Queen and Prince Philip for the Liberation 60 celebrations.

‘I told Prince Philip, “”There’s a book waiting for you at Government House,”” and he said, “”What’s your book about?””,’ says Joe.

‘I said, “”War and women,”” and he said, “”Ooh, women””.’ ‘We’ve had an exciting life,’ said Joe.

Bernard Dubras – who celebrated his 80th in January – has met Her Majesty not once but twice with his wife Molly.

The first time was aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia on one of her visits to Jersey and the second at a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Like the Queen, he has also enjoyed good health, led an active life and, as longevity runs in the family, he hopes to carry on for many years to come.

He said he had a great deal of respect and loyalty for the Queen.

‘I think she is fantastic.

She looks like she is enjoying life and she is accomplished, articulate and self confident,’ he said.

In times past 80 was considered a grand old age and quite an achievement – but the 80-year-olds in the Royal Square were anything but frail.

Irene Ray, who turns 80 in November, said: ‘I don’t feel 80.

My brain tells me I’m not but my body is starting to tell me I am! It’s great to be 80.

I never thought I’d live to 80 – it’s something to be really proud of.

I’ve always been well fed and had lots of fresh vegetables, which must have helped’ Former teacher Marjory Stewart – born on 1 August – has one philosophy to keep her young: ‘I’ve always enjoyed life.

I’m always doing something or travelling.’ Heather Ellis – who’s birthday is in July, said that being 80 is not much different from being 60: ‘I have a few more aches and pains I suppose.

It is very special to be born in the same year as the Queen.’ Raymond Dauphin – born in August – says it’s ‘not too bad’ being 80.

‘I get around all right and I’ve always lived in Jersey,’ he said.

‘The best thing about being 80 is knowing all the friends I’ve met and all the different people.’ His good friend Dennis Le Flem turned 80 just a couple of weeks ago, despite his attempts to deny it.

‘I tried to avoid being 80! I feel nowhere near it.

My family all got together and threw me a surprise party a few weeks ago so I couldn’t avoid it then.

Our lives have been very different to that of our children’s and grandchildren’s.

The best days were when we were younger.

Life then was so carefree, even during the Occupation – it was all excitement to us young lads!’ But not everybody was feeling so chirpy about being 80.

Former Royal Marine Brian Phillips, born in June, said: ‘It’s bloody awful being 80.

You won’t be allowed to print what I really think about it.

People don’t respect the elderly anymore, like they do in China.

Reaching an old age should be something to be proud of and respected.’ As well as sharing an age, the group have shared the most extraordinary changes in the last eight decades.

Jean Martin, whose birthday is in June, said: ‘We have seen amazing changes in our lifetimes.

It was hard when we were young, and there was no travelling or holidays abroad like there are today.’ Many of the group endured the Occupation and, naturally, it had a big impact on them throughout their teenage years.

‘The Occupation affected our younger years considerably,’ said Joan Green who is 80 in November.

‘The most shocking difference between life then and now is how terribly wasteful everyone is nowadays.

Things we would have once treasured, people today just throw away without a thought.’ Malcolm Cornish is one of the seniors of the group, having already turned 80 last month.

‘We have progressed considerably through everything that has happened over the years,’ he said.

‘You have to make many changes to adapt and just go with the crowd.’ But the reason they had been brought together was to raise a glass to a woman who has all their admiration.

Their feelings were summed up by Alma Wunsch – born 23 August 1926 – who said: ‘I think the Queen is wonderful.

She is always on the go.’ Also raising a glass to the Queen were David Morgan (born in May), Deci Campbell (December) and Kenneth Baudains, who celebrates his birthday on 30 April.

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