Wil Thomas may have drawn a few sceptical looks when he told people he was celebrating his 25th birthday today — probably because he looks far more "experienced".

The Summerset at Bishopscourt Care Centre resident turns 100 today, but because he was born on a leap day, he can claim he is 25.

He was having fun with that fact yesterday when his visiting family and fellow residents came by to deliver early birthday wishes, but the centenarian admitted he hadn't felt like a 25-year-old for quite some time.

Wil Thomas celebrates his 100th birthday with wife Audre, son Arwel and granddaughter Elen Thomas. Photo / Peter McIntosh
Wil Thomas celebrates his 100th birthday with wife Audre, son Arwel and granddaughter Elen Thomas. Photo / Peter McIntosh

Born in Llanelli, Wales, on February 29, 1920, Mr Thomas was a pharmacology lecturer at the University of Otago for 25 years, and an industrial chemist.

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He is also a self-published author and poet, and the staff at Bishopscourt love to read several of his poems to residents as part of Christmas celebrations each year.

Mr Thomas will celebrate his milestone today — no doubt with more poetry — alongside his wife, Audrey, at an extended family gathering.

Asked if there was a special drink he would like to celebrate with, he said: "No, I'm not a drinker. Just a cup of tea and a little bit of cake will do."

While he had no idea how he had managed to make it to 100, he suspected his healthy diet and the love of his wife may have had something to do with it.

"She keeps me young."

One thing is for certain — there are very few 25-year-olds in the world who can say they have a legitimate birthday card from the Queen.