The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
Porridge is the key: Church honour for St Madoes man Alfred Smith, 109.
Porridge the secret, says man who has been church member since 1945
The Church of Scotland has honoured Britain’s oldest man at his home in Perthshire.
Alfred Smith, who turned 109 at the end of March, was presented with the Kirk’s lifetime of service award.
Remarkably, Mr Smith shares his title of Britain’s oldest man with Bob Weighton, from Hampshire. They were both born on the same day. He says porridge is part of the secret to his long life.
Mr Smith, who lives in the village of St Madoes, has been a member of the Church of Scotland since 1945 and an Elder since 1967.
Moderator of the General Assembly Rt Rev Russell Barr visited Mr Smith at his home in the Carse of Gowrie to present the unique award on behalf of the church.
Mr Barr said: “Of all the many people I have met during my year as Moderator, Alfred Smith is one of the most remarkable.
“At 109 years old, he retains a lively sense of humour, a continuing interest in life – including the life of the church – and he is a great story teller.
“It was a privilege to meet him and some of his family and to offer him my warmest congratulations.”
Mr Smith said: “It is just wonderful to have a visit from the Moderator. How he finds the time to see me is quite something.
“I have always loved the church, as it has given me so much over the years.”
Mr Smith was born in Invergowrie in 1908. He was the fifth of six sons of John and Jessie Smith.
He went to Invergowrie Primary School and Harris Academy, Dundee, before emigrating to Canada, along with four of his brothers.
He returned five years later, in 1932, and went on to drive lorries for his brother, George.
During the Second World War, Mr Smith was in the Home Guard, and married Isobel when he was 29.
The couple farmed at Kinfauns where they raised two children, Irene and Allan. Mrs Smith passed away almost 14 years ago, aged 97.
Allan, who worked with his father on the farm for 40 years, died last year.
Minister of St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church Marc Bircham said: “It has been a great joy and privilege to be Alf’s minister and friend. He is a blessing to our congregation and community and on a personal level he has been a great encourager to myself, not least by referring to me as ‘young man’.”
His daughter Irene said he “took his responsibilities as an elder very seriously, visiting all his allocated members frequently, particularly those who were unable to attend church”.
It is just wonderful to have a visit from the Moderator. How he finds the time to see me is quite something. ALFRED SMITH
The honour given to Scotland’s oldest man by the Church of Scotland is heart warming.
Alfred Smith, who is an amazing 109, has never given up his devotion to the Kirk, having been a member since 1945 and an elder for 50 years. Of his long life, he asks, “Why me?” If a life lived well is a guarantee of longevity, then Mr Smith certainly deserves it, as he does all the recognition which is now coming his way.