Theologian and novelist Harry Blamires was encouraged to start writing after striking up a friendship with legendary author CS Lewis.

Now turning 100 in Cumbria, Harry reflected on this key relationship with the Chronicles of Narnia writer as he looked back on his work and life so far.

Harry, who now lives at Caldbeck's Midtown House care home, formed a close friendship with the author while studying at Oxford University.

He himself went on to write novels and produced work on Christianity.

One of his books, The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? is still used at many bible colleges and seminaries around the world today.

Speaking to The Cumberland News, Harry, who celebrated his century with family, said: "I just applied for university and Lewis was a lecturer there.

"We had tutors and I was told to go to him, which I did."

Asked what the writer - probably best known for the classic fantasy book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - was like, Harry said: "He was the belle of the ball. Everyone wanted to be in his lectures."

Fellow author JRR Tolkien, famous for The Lord of The Rings, also taught at the university.

Harry added: "Tolkien might've had about half a dozen in a small room but Lewis got a lot more.

"He [Lewis] was very approachable. He wanted to talk about you and about himself. His lectures were the best by far."

Harry and his wife Nancy - who died five years ago - had five sons.

He has also had eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He was born and raised in Bradford and also went on to serve as head of the English department at King Alfred's College, which is now Winchester University. After retiring, he moved to Cumbria.

"The best writers of the 20th century were James Joyce and TS Elliot," he added.

He also has two answers when asked what is key to leading a long and happy life - bananas and "a glass of wine".

Discussing his works - he also wrote The Bloomsday Book, a guide through Joyce's Ulysses and A Short History of English Literature - Harry said: "They weren't just read in England.

"People in America read them as well."

Gabriel, Harry's eldest son, said: "We had 30 family members here to celebrate his 100th birthday and the staff at Midtown House have been brilliant.

"I think the fact that students still write to him shows how well respected he is.

"The books he's written are great and he had a lot of support from my mum, Nancy."