A SCOTS man who reached his 105th birthday last week puts his longevity down to a daily bowl of porridge.
Neil McNeil, who reached the milestone last Tuesday, insists his daily bowl of the traditional Scottish cereal is the secret to his long life and good health.
The oat-loving centenarian eats the cereal plain with no topping and often insists on a second helping for supper.
Today marks the eighth world porridge day, an event organised by Scottish charity Mary’s Meal, and the 105-year-old will enjoy his daily bowl along with fellow porridge lovers from around the world.
Neil, who celebrated his birthday at a party with family and friends, is amongst only a handful of Scottish men over the age of 105.
Born in Paisley in 1911, Neil was alive for the outbreak of the First World War, the tenures of 25 British Prime Minsters and Scotland’s qualification to ten major football tournaments.
His daughter, Sheila, 72, said that porridge oats are what have kept her father young at heart, and that if he could, he would eat the dish for every meal.
Sheila said: “I have never known anyone to be such a big fan of porridge. He swears by having a bowl every morning to stay in good health and I’m sure he would have it for every meal if he could.
“He makes it with just milk, and has never had it any other way. His love for porridge has also been passed down through the family generations.
“I can’t remember ever eating anything else for breakfast when I was younger and even the great grandchildren enjoy a bowl or two now and again.”
Fiona Truesdale, Home Manager at Bupa’s Elderslie care home where Neil lives, said: “Neil’s been with us at the home for over three years now and I’ve never once seen him have anything else for breakfast.
“We always keep a spare box or two handy so we don’t run out.
“Residents and staff had a fantastic time at Neil’s birthday party and everyone was absolutely delighted to help him celebrate his big day with drinks, refreshments and party food.
“We’re all so proud of Neil for this amazing accomplishment.”
A spokesperson from Scott’s Porage Oats said: “Reaching the incredible age of 105 is a remarkable achievement and all the team here at Scott’s Porage would like to wish Neil McNeil a very happy birthday.”
Neil began his working life at his father’s coal business, before becoming the local bus driver at just 14.
Before the outbreak of the Second World War, he moved to London with his brother and joined the Ministry of Defence.
He met his wife Margaret whilst working in a munitions factory as part of the war effort, and they were married on New Year’s Eve in 1942.
Sheila is his only child, but he now has three granddaughters and four great grandchildren.
The McNeil’s moved back to Scotland in 1953 and settled in Neil’s birthplace of Paisley, where he opened a local furniture shop.
He has now lived in Paisley for over 63 years.