Sutton man not expected to live past his teens is coming up for his 100th birthday
A man who doctors said would not live to be an adult is set to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Walter Hemper, 99, was diagnosed with polio at 3-years-old.
The crippling disease left him unable to move his legs, so he has spent his whole life relying on callipers.
The metal braces supporting his limbs allow him to walk independently.
Polio, often referred to as infantile paralysis, leaves its victims with flacid muscles.
When Walter was younger he had to rely on a contraption called an iron lung to help him breathe.
The 99-year-old has defied the odds and will turn 100 on Monday June 16.
He said: "I am really happy to be reaching this age.
"Lots of family will be at my celebration next week, so it will be great to have everyone together."
Walter worked at a department store for roughly 45 years, repairing goods damaged in distribution.
He was born in Battersea but moved to Glastonbury Road in Sutton as a teenager.
In 1987 he relocated to South Africa, where he lived with his elder brother for 11 years.
He returned to the UK in 1998 after his brother died from a heart attack.
Walter, who goes by the nickname 'Wally', now lives in Collingwood Road, Sutton.
His neice Jennifer Smart said: "He is a such a generous man.
"He loves talking about the good old days and is a real good crack, always making jokes and being mischievious.
"When we told him he was getting a letter from the Queen, he said- ‘What do I want one of them for?’
"He never lets his disability get in the way, and has lived a very full life."
Walter had one younger and one older brother who have both now passed away.
On his birthday next Monday he will have a meal with members of his close family.
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