‘Pure luck’: Oldest man alive, born year Titanic sank, opens up on aging

Everything in moderation

New Mexico had just become a U.S. state. The Republic of China was born. The Titanic sank. The year of John Alfred Tinniswood’s birth, 1912, was a busy one. Now 111, with countless stories to tell, he’s the oldest man alive.

Tinniswood is only six years younger than the oldest person alive, Spain’s Maria Branyas Morera — who recently celebrated her 117th birthday.

A self-proclaimed “big chatterbox,” the U.K. native resides at a Southport care home, where he remains largely independent. From getting out of bed unassisted to managing his own finances, Tinniswood told Guinness World Records that he can still perform numerous daily tasks at his advanced age because of one major longevity secret: “pure luck.”

“You either live long or you live short, and you can’t do much about it,” he told Guinness World Records official adjudicator Megan Bruce.

“I eat what they give me and so does everybody else,” he later added. “I don’t have a special diet.” Though he does eat fish and chips every Friday.

The world record holder explained that it all comes down to moderation.

“If you drink too much or you eat too much or you walk too much; if you do too much of anything, you’re going to suffer eventually,” he said.

Being the world’s oldest man is no big deal to him, though. Tinniswood has been the U.K.’s oldest man since 2020 and received birthday cards from the late Queen Elizabeth each year since.

“Doesn’t make any difference to me,” he said. “Not at all. I accept it for what it is.”

While Tinniswood didn’t reveal any grand secret to long life, he did have some advice to give.

“Always do the best you can, whether you’re learning something or whether you’re teaching someone,” he said. “Give it all you’ve got. Otherwise it’s not worth bothering with.”