James driving on at 100

Probus Club president Hector McKenzie congratulates 100-year-old James Smith with a cake
Probus Club president Hector McKenzie congratulates 100-year-old James Smith with a cake

A 100-year-old celebrated his special milestone with a party organised by pals from the prominent group he helped found 36 years.

James Smith turned 100 last Sunday but his colleagues from the Polmont Probus Club made sure it didn’t go unnoticed with a party and cake at their fortnightly meeting in the Greenpark Centre yesterday (Wednesday).

James, originally from Forth in Lanarkshire, moved to Maddiston in 1948 when he and his brother John bought over Parkhall Farm.

The brothers then moved on to Myrehead Farm in Linlithgow before retiring. James now lives in Linlithgow after moving there ten years ago.

And while he doesn’t drive tractors any more, he still has a driver’s licence and drove himself to the gathering in his honour. He is the only surviving founder member of the Probus Club, which was formed on April 23, 1979 with a handful like-minded men.

Asked what the secret to long life was, James believes it is a mixture of fortune and healthy living.

He said: “I think you need a bit of luck to survive through things like diphtheria and other diseases that were around when I was quite young.

“I like doing my garden and that keeps me up and about. I’ve got a nice crop of apples and plums. I think being out in the outdoors on the farm helped too.”

James has two sons, James and Ian and twin daughters Margaret and Anne. His wife Margaret passed away in 2005.

Polmont Probus Club president Hector MacKenzie said he was proud to have James as a member of the group.

He said: “James is one of the best members and always attends the meetings, he is regular as clockwork.

“He is an absolute gentleman who is always cheerful and respectful.”

Past president Tom Grieve said: “James is at every meeting and function. He is quiet, unassuming and is a true gentleman. A 100th birthday is not something you see every day so it’s a special day for the club too.”