A D-Day veteran from Enfield has celebrated his 103rd birthday - and let us all in on the secret to a long life.

Donald Howkins, credits his health to maintaining his independence and a measure of whisky each day.

Mr Howkins celebrated the milestone birthday in high spirits at Elsyng House care home in Forty Hill.

Friends and family travelled from as far afield as the United States to help the ex-serviceman mark his special day.

Enfield Independent: His family, including his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, celebrated with himHis family, including his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, celebrated with him (Image: Elsyng House)

The care home, where Mr Howkins moved just last year, put on a private party with a fish and chip lunch for the veteran.

The 103-year-old shared love of whisky.

He said: "It’s what I really enjoy.

"I never over-do it, though, one glass is enough!

"The whisky we had in the war was very different but it did give me a bit of Dutch courage."

Mr Howkins gets a glass of his favourite tipple every day at 3pm.

The care home’s head of hospitality, Stephen Eshmade, said: "Donald is such a personality, he encourages everyone here to get out of bed and get involved in the activities.

"He’s always smartly dressed and he starts every morning with a cup of coffee while he reads the paper.

"He’s so positive, I love seeing him every day."

Enfield Independent: Donald said that whiskey is what he 'really enjoys'Donald said that whiskey is what he 'really enjoys' (Image: Elsyng House)

Mr Howkins served as a motorcycle dispatch rider in northern France during the D-Day landings in 1944.

With the 90th Middlesex Regiment of the Royal Artillery, he landed on Gold Beach in June, aged 23.

After the war, Donald resumed his career as a butcher, and, along with his wife Dorothy, raised their three children in Winchmore Hill.

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014, he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit.

His sons, Alan and Michael, his daughter Susan, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, all gathered at the care home for the party.

Enfield takeaway George's provided the celebratory fish and chip lunch.

One of the veteran's presents was, of course, a bottle of his favourite whisky.

Donald’s daughter, Susan, said: "The staff did a wonderful job, the set-up was amazing.

"It was lovely to be able to celebrate here altogether and have everything taken care of."

Mr Howkins said: "I was overwhelmed, it was such a wonderful day.

"I don’t know how many more birthdays I’m going to have, so to have my children here, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, was truly special.

"I didn’t expect all of this and I’m very grateful to Stephen and the team at Elsyng house."