Scotland’s oldest man reveals secret to long life

108 year old Alf Smith from the Carse of Gowrie. Alf is Scotland's oldest man.

108 year old Alf Smith from the Carse of Gowrie. Alf is Scotland's oldest man.

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Scotland’s oldest man celebrated his 108th birthday, and said porridge was the secret of his long life.

Alf Smith started the day, as ever, with a bowl of hot oats, although nowadays he tops it with brown sugar – a luxury denied him in his youth.

“My ticker has been going for 108 years – can they make a machine that can keep going for that long?

Alf Smith

He said: “I’ve supped a lot of porridge in my time – I have it every day. I have it with brown sugar – I wasn’t brought up having sugar on it, we didn’t have it at all when I was young.

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“If all people were as healthy as I am the National Health Service wouldn’t be in as much trouble as it is.

“My ticker has been going for 108 years – can they make a machine that can keep going for that long? I feel tired but glad to be alive – I’m just living day to day, same as most people.”

Alf, from St Madoes, a village in the Carse of Gowrie, celebrated with a quiet meal of fish and chips, followed by clootie dumpling at his home.

He also gave up smoking at the age of 80 after buying a new car and being reluctant to stain the inside with nicotine. He gave up driving at the age of 96, following the death of his wife Isobel.


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The second youngest of six sons born to John and Jessie Smith, Alf was educated at Invergowrie Primary School and Harris Academy, Dundee.

He emigrated to Canada, along with four of his brothers, in 1927 but returned after five years and went on to drive lorries for his brother, George.

He recalled a brush with the law in the late 1930s while at the wheel of a lorry in Fife.

He said: “I had gone to Cupar to transport sugar beet when I was done for speeding – I was doing 23mph but the limit was 20mph.

“A while after that I was on the Muirhead to Invergowrie road and I picked up the Invergowrie bobby. I was sticking to the limit and he said ‘can you not go any faster?’.”

During the Second World War Mr Smith was in the Home Guard, and married Isobel when aged 29. The couple went on to a farm at Kinfauns and have two children, Irene and Allan. Mrs Smith died almost 13 years ago, aged 97.

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