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Great-grandfather dies at the exact time and date he was born 103 years ago

  • 12:50, 21 OCT 2016
  • UPDATED 07:30, 22 OCT 2016

Jimmy Newell, who was born to the sound of bells ringing at midday on October 11, 1913, died with his son holding his hand in hospital

Jimmy Newell was born on October 11, 1913, and died on exactly the same day 103 years later

A great-grandfather who was hailed as a a World War Two computer pioneer has died at the exact time and date as he was born 103 years ago.

Jimmy Newell entered the world to the sound of bells ringing at Leeds Town Hall at midday on October 11, 1913 - a story he would often tell his family and friends.

In a remarkable coincidence he died with his son Graham holding his hand in hospital at the precise moment the clock struck noon on October 11, 2016.

Graham, 65, said he believes it was his dad's determination to be "properly 103" and not short change people that gave him the determination to hold on.

Mr Newell holds his great-grandson Ben

He said: "[My father] certainly died holding my hand at exactly midday on his birthday while I was on the phone to my son.

"I told my son he had just died and we checked the time - and it was exactly 12 noon to the minute. It was on the dot.

"My belief is that it was deliberate as he would never short-change everyone.

"He really wanted to be 103. He had amazing determination and I genuinely believe that was what he wanted."

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Graham, who lives in Brighton, said that his father had suffered a fall 16 days before he died.

He had lived on his own and was transferred to Torbay Hospital for a hip operation but never returned home.


Graham added: "He died 16 days after the fall. He was known to everyone who knew him for his determination.

"He did a lot of sport and was amazingly fit for his age. The irony is that had it not been for his fall we were going to take him to Spain for his 103rd birthday."

The odds of dying on the same day and time you were born are approximately 200 million to one.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: "This is a coincidence of all coincidences."

During his career Mr Newell, who lived in Dittisham, near Totnes, Devon, had been at the forefront of computer technology.

He was partly responsible for computerisation of the bank industry, is believed to be behind the first hole in the wall cash machine in London and was described as a World War Two computer pioneer.

He had a second child, Carol Dornan, plus five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. His wife Kay died in 2000.

He was the youngest of seven children in a family that ran a coal business and lived in great harmony in a back-to-back house with outside sanitation.


A passionate sportsman, he played many sports - including demonstration games of badminton designed to popularise the game.

He was still playing club cricket at 60 - his favourite team being Yorkshire and he knew the team well personally.

One of his grandsons, Andy, wrote on the day he died: "On this day in 1913 my grandfather drew his first breath, today at noon his last.

"Eyes full of extraordinary things have closed. A heart charged with 103 years of joy and suffering is now still.

"Travel well and thank you."

A celebration of his life is planned for Thursday, November 3.



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