Celebration for veteran

The last surviving veteran to fight in the trenches during the First World War was yesterday celebrating his 109th birthday - but insisted it was no big deal.

The last surviving veteran to fight in the trenches during the First World War was yesterday celebrating his 109th birthday - but insisted it was no big deal.

Harry Patch marked the day with a party at his nursing home in Wells, Somerset.

He served with the Duke of Cornwall's light infantry and fought at the bloody battle of Passchendaele, when he was still just a teenage conscript.

In typically modest fashion, the veteran insisted his birthday was nothing remarkable and said he still had plenty of years left in him.

"I feel about 50 years old. It's a lot of fuss about nothing."

Like minds

SCOTLAND'S First Minister will discuss Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland forming a joint approach towards governing the UK when he visits Belfast today.

Alex Salmond is planning a further trip to Cardiff to formulate plans, and has agreed to discuss the issue with Gordon Brown when he officially takes over as Prime Minister.

The SNP leader will fly from Dundee for his first official visit outside Scotland following an invitation from his Northern Ireland counterpart the Rev Ian Paisley.

He will suggest to Northern Irish leaders that relations could be put on a "proper business-like basis" by resurrecting joint ministerial committees.

Death plunge

ONE man died and other was injured yesterday "tombstoning" - jumping from a height into the sea.

Coastguards issued another warning about the dangers of the craze which has claimed at least one other life.

In the first incident at 1.30am a 46-year-old Torquay man died when he leaped 30ft into the sea at low tide at Berry Head, Brixham, south Devon.

In a separate incident at Trevaunance Cove, near St Agnes, Cornwall, a 29-year-old man was taken to hospital after jumping into the sea and knocking himself unconscious.

Suspect in split

A BRITISH man accused of killing his six-year-old son after he leapt off a hotel balcony with him has been divorced by his wife.

John Hogan plunged 50ft from the fourth floor of a hotel in Crete with Liam and his daughter Mia, then aged two, during a holiday last year. Mia survived after breaking her arm. Hogan, 32, of Bristol, suffered a broken arm and leg. He was later charged with murder and attempted murder, and is awaiting trial in Greece.

His wife Natasha, 34, has been granted a decree absolute at Bristol County Court.

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