Ex Eton Mission rower ‘oldest man in the world’
Henry Allingham, who celebrated his 113th birthday earlier this month is declared the oldest the oldest man in the world by Guinness World Records.
Henry was born in London on 6th June 1896, the year that the first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens. Last year on his birthday Henry was the guest of honour at his former rowing club, Eton Mission, in London’s Hackney Wick. Returning to the canal-based club, Henry declared, ‘It’s wonderful – it’s taken about ten years off my life!’
Introduced to rowing by his mother’s youngest brother, Charlie Foster, Henry became a regular fixture on the water at Eton Mission from 1909-1914 and then from 1919-1922. Only World War 1 got in the way with Henry surviving the Battle of Jutland, the Somme and Ypres. ‘I thought I couldn’t row properly and I learned to row here and got better and better. I got all the books out of the libraries. ‘I got a lot of pleasure out of rowing and just watching people rowing,’
So is rowing the secret of long life?
When asked last year Henry’s reply was, ‘Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women! And a sense of humour.’
The BBC website has the news story