Scotland’s oldest man reveals secret behind his long life
Alfred Smith, from the village of St Madoes in Perthshire, celebrated his 111th birthday on Friday.
He shares the milestone with the UK’s other oldest man Bob Weighton, who credited his own extended lifespan with being one of “life’s survivors”.
Mr Smith was born in Invergowrie in 1908 as the fifth of six sons of John and Jessie Smith.
He was educated at Invergowrie Primary School and Harris Academy in Dundee.
Mr Smith emigrated to Canada, along with four of his brothers, in 1927. However, he returned after five years and went on to drive lorries for his brother George.
During the Second World War, he was in the Home Guard and married Isobel when he was 29. The couple went on to farm at Kinfauns where they raised two children, Irene and Allan.
Mrs Smith died more than 15 years ago, aged 97, while his son Allan, who worked with his father on the farm for 40 years, died in 2016.
Mr Smith retired at the age of 70, but continued to go to the farm until well into his 80s.
Asked for his secret to a long and happy life, the former farmer said: “Porridge is helpful, and having a job you enjoy.
“I like to think I’ve lived a decent life. I do ask myself – why me? Why have I lived so long when others haven’t?”
Mr Weighton – a former teacher and engineer – celebrated his own birthday yesterday with friends at his retirement flat in Alton, Hampshire.
Reacting to the fuss, Mr Weighton, who was born in Hull on 29 March, 1908, said: “I do not like the attention.
“I quite like meeting people I have never seen before, that’s one of my delights. I like meeting people who have been places and have some understanding of what it means to be human.”
He said he had requested not to get a birthday card from the Queen any more, explaining: “I do not see why the state should pay for the Queen to send out all these things, it’s not a personal thing.
“I thought that’s enough. But I might consider another one next year if I live that long.”
When asked for the secret of his longevity, he joked: “By avoiding dying – there’s no reason otherwise. I have had the usual scares, flu, influenza, malaria, two or three operations; I ought to be dead, but I am a survivor.”
Mr Weighton, who had two sons and a daughter, ten grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren, said the world had changed “enormously” in his lifetime, but people had mostly stayed the same.
He still has a workshop in his flat where he makes windmills and ornaments from recycled wood.
And Mr Weighton still shops and cooks for himself and regularly goes to the local supermarket using his walking aid.