Derby

UK's oldest man dies at 108: Long life down to 'hard work and vinegar'

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Media captionJack Mansfield lived in his own home until he was 108

The oldest man in the UK, who credited "hard work and vinegar" for his longevity, has died just weeks before his 109th birthday.

Jack Mansfield died peacefully in his sleep in Etwall in Derbyshire on Sunday, his family said.

The widower was a "strong-willed" man who lived on his own until earlier this year, when he went into a care home.

He leaves behind six children, 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

His youngest son Richard, 70, said his father attributed his longevity to hard work and using vinegar.

"He had a bottle by the bed until the day he died. He would rub it on his knee and drink a little bit from time to time.

"He swore by vinegar."

'I can do it'

Born John Mansfield on 14 December 1907, he was an agricultural worker and coal-delivery man for much of his life.

He lived alone at his home, a former council house in Mayfield, until September when medical complaints saw him move to a care home in Etwall.

"He lived on his own until earlier this year when he was 108. He'd get up and get himself dressed and someone would drop over during the day to see how he was doing," his son Richard said.

Mr Mansfield and his late wife Beatrice had six children - the eldest an 83-year-old daughter Doreen.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Mr Mansfield, pictured here aged 96, was a keen gardener and attributed his long life to "hard work" and vinegar

"He hated being inside and wanted to keep working as long as he could," his son said.

"He's like a caged animal (when he's indoors) because he loves outdoors," Doreen added.

"His most popular saying was: 'I can do it myself!'"

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Jack and his wife Beatrice had six children - their eldest daughter turns 84 in December

Oldest in the UK

Image caption Gladys Hooper, who lived to the age of 113, passed away in November
  • The three oldest women in the UK, according to the Oldest in Britain website, are: Bessie Cram, 112, of Rotherham, Yorkshire; Olive Boar, 112, of Ipswich; and Alice Ducat, 111, of Kent
  • A previous holder of the record as oldest woman in the UK, Gladys Hooper, of the Isle of Wight, died on 11 November at age 113
  • The oldest man is now Alf Smith, of Perth, Scotland - who is 108, but he is only the 41st oldest person, as 40 women are ahead of him on the list

When he got his first congratulatory card from the Queen, Mr Mansfield's first comment was: "Who's told her?", his family said.

His funeral is planned for 10 December in Mayfield near Ashbourne, where he lived most of his life.

Mourners are being asked to wear red as the centenarian was a fan of Manchester United.

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