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Man declared dead in 1936 celebrates 106th birthday

Sam Ledward crashed his bike 76 years ago and was being taken to the mortuary when someone noticed his "corpse" move

Sam Ledward is grateful to be alive and celebrating his 106 birthday after receiving the gift of at least 76 more years following a motorcycle crash.

"I was riding on a 500cc Triumph," said Ledward to BBC. "I hadn't had it more than two months."

He saw the rear tire was in bad shape so he replaced it, but thought the front one was fine. It wasn't and it burst, throwing Ledward onto the road and putting him into a coma so deep doctors thought he was dead. They made the call to have the body taken away.

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"They put me on a trolley and this chap saw something move and took me back," he said.

Ledward awoke five days later and it took another six months for his face and head to heal.

Since then he says he's had a good life. He lived with his wife, Edith, in Blackpool, just north of Liverpool, until she died in 1993. Now Edith's cousin Millie Minshall, who is 90 years old, takes care of Ledward. He said he is getting too old for travelling abroad, but is still out and about.

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Ledward may have lived to 106 because of some good fortune, but he has decades to go to be the oldest person alive. A woman in China recently reportedly celebrated her 127th birthday. However, it's nearly impossible to verify because she would have been born in 1885 and birth certificates only started in her region after the 1949 Communist takeover. The current record holder is Jeanne Calment of France who died at age 122 in 1997.

The oldest Canadian to ever lived was Marie-Louise Meilleur who passed away at age 117 in 1998. Three Canadians made it to the top twenty of the list.

When asked what Ledward's secret is to living a long life, not surprisingly he told BBC, "sheer luck."

And he doesn't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. "I'll be all right for a while yet. You don't get rid of me like that."

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