Bob Weighton
Robert Weighton
Weighton being recognised as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records, 30 March 2020
Birth: 29 March 1908
Kingston-upon-Hull, England, UK
Death: 28 May 2020
Alton, Hampshire, England, UK
Age: 112 years, 60 days
Country: United Kingdom UK
Validated

Robert Grant Pitts "Bob" Weighton (29 March 1908 – 28 May 2020) was a British supercentenarian who was recognised as the oldest living man in the world by Guinness World Records at the time of his death. His age is also validated by the Gerontology Research Group.

Additionally, Weighton was the oldest living person in the United Kingdom, a title he shared jointly with Joan Hocquard. He was also previously the joint-oldest living man in the United Kingdom, a title he shared with Alf Smith. However, following Smith’s death on 4 August 2019, Weighton became the sole titleholder.

Biography

Early Life

Weighton was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, England, UK on 29 March 1908. He was one of seven children. He said that his earliest memory was contracting mumps at the age of five. He also recalled watching fires caused by Zeppelin raids from his bedroom window during the First World War.

Weighton's father paid an extra £3 a term so he could stay at school until he was 16, which enabled him to take up a marine engineering apprenticeship. After qualifying, Weighton struggled to find a job, so decided to work abroad as a teacher. He moved to Taiwan in 1933 to teach at a missionary school, but first had to spend two years in Japan learning the language.

Mid-life

In 1937, Weighton married his wife, Agnes, a teacher he had known since they studied together in England. After marrying in Hong Kong, they returned to Taiwan, where their first child, David, was born. The family decided to return to England in 1939, but were diverted to Toronto, Canada, due to the onset of the Second World War. While in Canada, the couple had two more children, Peter and Dorothy.

Weighton later moved with his family to the United States, where he worked in a factory that made aeroplanes for Britain to help them fight the war. His knowledge of Japanese meant that he went on to work for the British Political Warfare Mission, and helped to decipher enemy messages during America's battle with Japan.

In 1946, Weighton returned to England with his family where he met his in-laws for the first time. He took up a teaching position at City University, London, and spent the rest of his working life as a lecturer in marine engineering.

Later Life

After retiring, Weighton and his wife moved to Alton, Hampshire, England in 1973. Around 1990, he had to undergo an operation to remove a growth on his stomach. Agnes died in 1995, and their son, Peter, died in 2014.

After his wife's death, Weighton moved in to a flat in an Alton care home, where he lived independently. The second bedroom in his flat was a workshop filled with furniture, windmills, and puzzles he made and sold in aid of charity, often from bits of wood pulled from skips. He also sold self-published poetry books and raised almost £900 for Brendoncare, the charity that operated his care home.

As of March 2019, shortly before his 111th birthday, Weighton was still able to do his own shopping. In an interview to mark his 111th birthday, he joked that his secret to longevity is "avoiding dying". In June 2019, he was interviewed by BBC Radio 4, in which he talked about his life. He also accompanied a community fundraising team on visits to local schools to talk in assemblies about his life.

In March 2020, Weighton was forced to cancel his 112th birthday celebration due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of social distancing rules, he was also unable to receive a personal visit from a Guinness World Records official to be recognised as the world's oldest man. Instead, his care home arranged for him to be presented with a certificate by staff on his balcony. Earlier on the same day, he was interviewed live on breakfast television programme Good Morning Britain.

Weighton died from cancer on 28 May 2020, aged 112 years, 60 days. At the time of his death, he had ten grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. Prior to his funeral on 19 June 2020, the hearse drove slowly through the town of Alton and past the care home where he lived so residents could pay their respects.

Political Opinions

Weighton shared his views on politics and current affairs on several occasions during interviews, as well as his opinions on life in general. He was never a member of a political party, but said "if anything, I have supported the Liberal Democrats." From his 109th birthday onward, Weighton refused the traditional birthday card from the Queen, saying "in an age of austerity I thought I would save the country a little bit on postage and printing."

Brexit

Weighton said he was "a bit irked" by the fact that the UK's withdrawal from the European Union (EU), which formally began on 29 March 2017, coincided with his 109th birthday. He believed the UK's decision to leave the EU was a mistake, saying "You can't just walk away and expect it not to have any repercussions. It's not like resigning from a golf club because you don't like the secretary, it's more like a divorce with all of the heartache and recriminations that follow."

The UK was originally due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, Weighton's 111th birthday, but was delayed after the British Parliament voted against ratifying it three times. Weighton described the situation as a "total mess" and reiterated his opposition to Brexit, saying "My own feeling is that if there were defects, and there were quite obviously defects, we can negotiate on the inside rather than walking off the field with the cricket ball and saying 'I'm not playing.'"

Climate Change

Weighton supported environmental activism, describing himself as an "eco-warrior." He expressed admiration for Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, saying "she’s made a splash, and because of her age she’s made an impact that a person of my age wouldn’t have."

Weighton encouraged others to take action in order to tackle climate change, saying "there are small things that we can all do, like not buying meals in plastic trays." He also believed that the UK is "failing to make use of tidal power."

World Leaders

Weighton described British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump as "a couple of comedians on the world stage." He also branded Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "danger to the world."

COVID-19 Pandemic

Weighton said he was "worried" about the COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out shortly before his 112th birthday, but said that the Spanish Flu pandemic a century beforehand was worse. Weighton said "The number of people dying in China is scary. But in Europe and elsewhere, the numbers are still not reaching the millions that died of the Spanish flu. I hope they never do. But you never know how bad the coronavirus will get. You just have to do the best you can and not worry."

Longevity Records

British Records

Weighton became the oldest living man in England following the death of John Mansfield on 27 November 2016. At the same time, he also became the joint-oldest living man in the whole of the United Kingdom, along with Alf Smith of Perth, Scotland. Weighton held this title on his own after Smith’s death on 4 August 2019.

Following the death of Hilda Clulow on 24 December 2019, Weighton became the oldest living person in the United Kingdom, a title he shared jointly with Joan Hocquard of Poole, England. He was the first man to hold this title since James Harrow in 1976.

Weighton is the second-oldest man ever from England, behind Henry Allingham, and the third-oldest man ever from the United Kingdom, behind Allingham and John Evans of Wales.

International Records

Weighton was believed to have become the oldest living man in Europe following the death of 114-year-old Gustav Gerneth of Germany on 21 October 2019, although Gerneth's age remains unvalidated as of June 2020.

Following the death of Chitetsu Watanabe on 23 February 2020, Weighton became the oldest living man in the world. He was officially recognised as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on 30 March 2020, the day after his 112th birthday. He was the first British man to hold this title since Henry Allingham.

Gallery

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References


World's Oldest Living Man Titleholders (V • TE)

Sylvester Melvin • Joseph Saint-Amour • William Fullingim • John Mosley Turner
Friedrich Wedeking • Frederick Butterfield • Jean Teillet • Charlie Nelson • Charlie Phillips • Mathew Beard • Joe Thomas • Herman Smith-Johannsen • Alphaeus Philemon Cole • John Evans • Henri Perignon • James Wiggins • Frederick Frazier • Josep Armengol-Jover • Christian Mortensen • Johnson Parks • Walter Richardson • Denzo Ishizaki • Antonio Urrea-Hernandez • John Painter • Antonio Todde • Yukichi Chuganji • Joan Riudavets-Moll • Fred Hale • Emiliano Mercado del Toro • Tomoji Tanabe • Henry Allingham • Walter Breuning • Jiroemon Kimura • Salustiano Sanchez • Arturo Licata • Alexander Imich • Sakari Momoi • Yasutaro Koide • Israel Kristal • Francisco Nunez Olivera • Masazo NonakaChitetsu WatanabeBob Weighton


Europe’s Oldest Living Man Titleholders (VE)

Geert Adriaans Boomgaard • Unknown • Matthias DodenhoffFrederick StabbinsWilliam MugfurSven ErikssonJean-Pierre DupontWilliam WalkerBening ArnoldHans Schaftner-BurginLars OlofssonMarc PicqJohan SvanstromErik JanssonFrancesco CubaddaThomas PopeJohn FrancklowKarl Nilsson • Unknown • Antonio MarchiAugust KarlssonKarl GlocknerAnders JonassonMathias Hansen SaetherJan KipWillem Kostering • Unknown • Francesco PabaJohn Mosley Turner • Unknown • Friedrich Wedeking • Frederick ButterfieldJean Teillet • Pasquale CappelloGiuseppe Arena • Luigi SabaIngebrigt Johansen • Victor GuillotAndrei Kuznetsoff • Herman Smith-JohannsenJohn Evans • Henri PerignonDomenico Minervino • Josep Armengol-JoverPablo Roy • Emile FourcadeBernard Delhom • Valentino StellaGregorio Merino • Antonio BaldoAntonio Urrea-Hernandez • Alejandro Rivera SantallaAntonio Todde • Joan Riudavets-MollHermann Dornemann • Jerzy Pajaczkowski-DydynskiMaurice Floquet • Henry AllinghamHarry Patch • Stanley LucasJan Goossenaerts • Francisco FernandezArturo Licata • Rezso GallaiPhilippe Vocanson • Harold BracherFrancisco Nunez Olivera • Gustav GernethBob Weighton • Dumitru ComanescuSaturnino de la Fuente Garcia


United Kingdom's Oldest Living Person Titleholders (VE)

Frederick Stabbins • Jane Lister • Martha Truelove • Ann Sharp • Jane Raby • Frances Smith • William Walker • Ann Russell • Eliza Roff • Ellen Palmer • Rachel MacArthur • Rachel Swain • Mary Davey • Thomas Pope • John Francklow • Rebecca Lees • Sarah Fitt • Elizabeth Sellwood • Matilda Coppins • Elizabeth Whitehead • Emma Rooke • Margaret Lunn • Sarah Humphrey • Caroline Beale • Fanny Hopkins • Elizabeth Etheridge • Sophia Wellstead • Rhoda Harris • Emma Weeks • Edith Grellier • Mary WorthingtonJane Stoneman • Ellen Dart • Elizabeth Kensley • Hannah Smith • John Mosley Turner • Ada Roe • Alice Stevenson • Elizabeth Watkins • Frederick Butterfield • Rose Heeley • Agnes Helyar • James Harrow • Sarah Morgan • Lilias Williams • Florence Pannell • Jeanetta Thomas • Alice Brewster • Anna Eliza Williams • Kate Begbie • Charlotte Hughes • Daisy Adams • Rebecca Hewison • Annie Scott • Rachel Wieselberg • Lucy Askew • Annie Jennings • Eva Morris • Amy Hulmes • Nellie Bradley • Gladys Hawley • Lucy d'Abreu • Judy Ingamells • Emmeline Brice • Annie Knight • Ada Mason • Florrie Baldwin • Eunice Bowman • Annie Turnbull • Elsie Steele • Margaret Fish • Violet Wood • Grace A Jones • Ethel Lang • Gladys Hooper • Bessie CammOlive BoarGrace C JonesGwen PayneHilda ClulowBob WeightonJoan Hocquard


United Kingdom's Oldest Living Man Titleholders (VE)

George Stanforth • John Mosley Turner • John Leng • Frederick Butterfield • James Harrow • Ernest Oxley • Harry Durrant • Arthur Emanuel • James Sellers • Walter Sandford • George Simms • Henry Norman • John Orton • Alfred Grant • John Evans • Samuel Crabbe • Joseph Randle • Jesse Yewdall • William Proctor • David Davies • Vinson Gulliver • David Henderson • Harry Halford • William Lee • Frederick Moore • Harry Laverick • Jerzy Pajaczkowski-Dydynski • Henry Allingham • Harry Patch • Stanley Lucas • Edward Anderson • Reg Dean • Ralph Tarrant • Harold Bracher • Frank Simes • John Mansfield • Alf Smith • Bob Weighton • Harry Fransman • John Tinniswood

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