HE MAY have died more than 80 years ago.

But that won't stop volunteers celebrating the 130th birthday of T E Lawrence 'Lawrence of Arabia' at his tiny former home, Clouds Hill near Bovington, on August 16.

Visitors to the National Trust property will be invited to enjoy birthday cake and Arabic coffee, served in an authentic Bedouin tent brought over to the UK by volunteer Theresa Jenkins-Teague.

Lawrence - who was living under the name T E Shaw while in the Tank Corps - chose to live in simple and frugal fashion at the cottage, to try to escape the fame his historic exploits in the Middle East had brought him.

However, historians have discovered that he was partial to a cream cake as related in a letter to a friend. "I bought an éclair and split it down its length, like two little dug-out canoes," he wrote.

According to the National Trust: "This partiality might explain the many gold teeth he had by the end of his life, and the reward to his dentist of a subscriber's edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom!"

Clouds Hill became a refuge for Lawrence and one to which he planned to retire, but he was fatally injured less than 400 yards from the cottage in a motorbike accident when he was just 46 years old.

Because they National Trust are hoping to open the house on a daily basis, they are looking for more volunteers to look after the property. For more details, contact Rachael Raine on 01305 262366 or rachael.raine@nationaltrust.org.uk.