UK’s oldest men - a Scot and an Englishman - reveal long life secrets

Robert Weighton, left, and Alf Smith are both celebrating their 110th birthdays today. (Photo: Steve Parsons/PA and Andrew O'Brien/Church of Scotland/PA)
Robert Weighton, left, and Alf Smith are both celebrating their 110th birthdays today. (Photo: Steve Parsons/PA and Andrew O'Brien/Church of Scotland/PA)
0
Have your say

Britain’s two oldest men – who happen to share the same date of birth– are celebrating their 110th birthdays today.

The milestone occasion is being marked by Robert Weighton of Alton, Hampshire and Alf Smith of Perthshire, both born on 29 March 1908.

Although they have never met, the pair have got to know each other by exchanging birthday cards in recent years.

READ MORE: Scotland’s oldest man celebrates his 108th birthday

Alf and Robert have lived through two world wars and 29 general elections. They have also been witness to five monarchs, having been born during the reign of Edward VII – the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Alf, lives hundreds of miles away from Robert in the tiny village of St Madoes, a few miles east of Perth. He spent five years living in Canada before returning to the UK, where he was in the Home Guard during the Second World War.

He eventually settled on a farm in Kinfauns, another Perthshire village, where he raised two children with his late wife Isobel, who died aged 97 in 2003.

What is the Scot’s secret to long life? It’s more simple than you might think – porridge and “having a job you enjoy”, he says.

“I’ve supped a lot of porridge in my time – I have it every day,” Alf said, “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.”

Alf used to transport sugar in the late 1930s, but while at the wheel of a lorry in Fife he had a brush with the law.

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.”

Alf’s fellow centenarian was born in Hull and was an engineer for most of his working years.

Robert credits his longevity to laughter, eating food he enjoys and a healthy dose of luck, but believes he has “done nothing to deserve or achieve” his old age.

In fact, Robert said he was just “one of the lucky ones” who had managed to avoid getting cancer or being hit by a bus. In his eyes, it is “people taking themselves too seriously” which causes most of the world’s troubles.

This story also features on our sister site the i.