'Happy times are ahead' Wales' best known centenarian Owen Filer shares message of hope on 101st birthday

A 101-year-old internet sensation who went viral because of his youthful appearance has vowed that "happy times" are ahead, as he faces another milestone birthday in lockdown.

Owen, from Cwmbran, has as much energy as somebody half his age, and says he puts it down to "working hard, keeping clean, and exercising".

When ITV Wales' Rob Osborne returned to visit Mr Filer, the father-of-four, whose children are all pensioners, was shocked to hear his previous interview had amassed more than seven million views on social media.

Rob paid Owen a visit ahead of his 101st birthday Credit: ITV Wales

"Never!", Owen said. "Have I got to Australia?"

"I think you got everywhere!", Rob responded.

Rob first met Owen while filming in Newport back in January before the pandemic began.

The short clip of Owen telling Rob he was 100 years old and could remember the trams on Newport high street received a huge reaction online.

Tom Munns said, "Really need to find out that mans secret to looking that good at 100".

Josh Christian said, "He only looks 80 what a fantastic gentleman - hope I look like that when I'm older - great he's still getting out", and another Twitter user said, "That’s the beautiful Welsh air they breath. What an outstanding gentleman"

ITV Wales returned to visit Owen in May during the first lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic.

He described the situation as being "worse than the war", but said he was still managing to get out for his daily walks.

Rob caught back up with Owen, at a safe two-metre distance, at his home in Cwmbran ahead of his birthday. Reacting to turning 101, Owen said, "I don't know how it happened. Isn't it lovely? I can't believe it!"

"I like being interviewed - it reminds me I'm still alive!"

Owen was reminded of his sledgehammer skills after his daughter recorded a video of him smashing up some concrete in his garden.

"It was taken in June in 25-degree heat", his daughter said.

"Full suit and tie - I had to sit down but he kept on going!"

Owen's son Barry described his father as "remarkable".

"He actually knows it - how good he is - and he's thankful for every day he gets, and so are we, obviously".

Owen pictured with his wife and four children Credit: OWEN FILER

Owen said he is continuing to exercise as much as possible, and doing twenty leg raises on each leg before bed every night.

He had a big party for his 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends, but will be unable to celebrate in a similar way this year due to the current coronavirus restrictions.

He described this year as "shocking" and "disappointing", but said he believes that "happier times are ahead."

On the way political leaders are handling the virus, Owen said it is, "very poor - they're doing all the wrong things at the wrong time aren't they?"

"I said to Barry and the kids years ago that the way we are living is all wrong. Why are we in such a hurry? What's it all about? Why are we all tearing around like lunatics?

"Something somewhere someday, something is going to happen and the breaks will be slammed on, and here it is".

"I've been through the war. I'm still here, by the grace of God - and happy days are here. Not yet, but they will come".