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Scotland’s oldest man dies aged 111

Alfred Smith, known as Alf, was born on March 29 1908.

Scotland’s oldest man Alfred Smith has died aged 111 (Andrew O’Brien/Church of Scotland/PA)
Scotland’s oldest man Alfred Smith has died aged 111 (Andrew O’Brien/Church of Scotland/PA)

One of Britain’s joint oldest men has died aged 111.

Alfred Smith, known as Alf, turned 111 on March 29, the same day as Britain’s other oldest man, Robert Weighton.

Mr Smith, from St Madoes, Perthshire, who was the oldest man in Scotland, died on Saturday night.

Councillor Eric Drysdale paid tribute to the former farmer, who credited porridge and having an enjoyable job for his long life.

The SNP Perth and Kinross councillor tweeted: “Sad to hear this morning that Scotland’s oldest man, Perth and Kinross based Alf Smith of St Madoes has passed way aged 111 years and 128 days.

“When he was 100 he bought a new washing machine and decided on a 10 year extended warranty! Optimism seems to be the key to a long life.”

Mr Smith was born in Invergowrie in 1908, the fifth of six sons to John and Jessie Smith.

He 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.

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 14 years ago, aged 97.

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 in a previous interview, Mr Smith 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 Smith was very active in the Church of Scotland, having joined after leaving the Free Church in 1945, and was presented with a lifetime of service award from the Kirk moderator in 2017.

One time I visited him when he was 97 and he was in a dilemma over purchasing a new cooker.He sought my advice as to taking out a five or ten year warranty and I said he should be optimistic and go for the 10.I am delighted that he outlived that Rev Marc Bircham, St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church

His minister, Rev Marc Bircham of St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church, said: “Alf was a wonderful character who brought great joy to all who had the privilege of knowing him.

“A great supporter of the local church, he served as an Elder for many years.

“One time I visited him when he was 97 and he was in a dilemma over purchasing a new cooker.

“He sought my advice as to taking out a five or 10-year warranty and I said he should be optimistic and go for the 10.

“I am delighted that he outlived that.

“It has been a great privilege to be both his friend and his minister.

“Family, neighbours and his many friends will miss him greatly.”

PA

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