Weighton was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, England, UK on 29 March 1908. He was the fourth of seven children born to Scotsman Arthur Weighton and his wife Eliza Pitts. His brother, Arthur Jr., lived to be 95. 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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, at the age of 112 years, 60 days. At the time of his death, he had 10 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.
Biography sourced from Gerontology Wiki