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England's oldest man celebrates 111th birthday at Alton care home

4 minute read
England's oldest man celebrates 111th birthday at Alton care home

Published at 11:21am 29th March 2019. (Updated at 11:57am 29th March 2019)

The oldest man in England, Bob Weighton, is celebrating his 111th birthday today...and he's from Alton!

The father-of-three, who has 10 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren will be celebrating with friends and family later.

Bob has lived in Alton since 1969 and now lives independently in one of 46 apartments at Brendoncare Alton.

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, if you like."

Mr Weighton said he does not "like the attention" surrounding his birthday and has requested not to get a birthday card from the Queen. 

"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.", he said. 

So what's his secret to longevity?

Bob 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?"

I am very lucky to have been healthy and active throughout my life. I enjoy social activities and like to get outside every day. I have a shed in the garden at Brendoncare where I enjoy making toys and children’s furniture.”

It is far better to make a friend out of a possible enemy than it is to make an enemy out of a possible friend. This is something I have lived by throughout my life.”

Born in Hull on 29 March, 1908, he said the world has changed "enormously" in his lifetime, but people have mostly stayed the same.

"Visually and in physical terms, it's changed enormously, in what human beings are - not at all," he said.

"In practical terms, one thing is the speed of travel. In 1933 I travelled to the Far East on a P&O boat to Hong Kong and it took six weeks, now you can fly there in about eight or nine hours."

Bob will be celebrating with friends and fellow residents at Brendoncare Alton, where a birthday party is being organised for him.

Children from St Lawrence CE Primary School in Alton will be performing some songs from 2.30pm, followed by the cutting of his birthday cake.

Bob will also be officially launching his new book of poems and will be reciting some of the poems during the party.

Proceeds from the sale of his books will go to charities who work with the elderly in Alton. 

Bob's history

Bob was born on 29 March 1908 in Hull, Yorkshire, where he lived and studied for a degree in mechanical engineering.

After his studies, he worked in marine engineering in Northumberland.

In 1933 he decided to volunteer to teach English in Taiwan.

He spent six weeks on board a ship reaching Hong Kong and a further week getting to Taiwan. He initially spent two years learning Japanese, and then taught English in a school for four years, during which time he married his fiancée who came out from England in 1937.

When warnings of Second World War were made in 1939, he decided to leave for England.

However, on the way across the Pacific to Canada, war broke out and he lived in Canada and USA until the end of the war.

During the war, he worked with the British Government, first inspecting aircraft engines for delivery to the RAF, and then translating enemy broadcasts and preparing programmes in Japanese to be broadcast to Japan under the title of the ‘Voice of Britain’.

He returned to England in 1946 with his wife and three children. He became a lecturer in mechanical engineering at the City University of London, where he continued working until his retirement in 1973.

Happy Birthday Bob! 



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