Scottish man celebrates 106 birthday - with one regret

By Stephanie Brickman, January 7, 2010
Top of the Scots: Samuel Latter with his greeting from the Queen

Top of the Scots: Samuel Latter with his greeting from the Queen

Celebrating his 106th birthday in Edinburgh on Monday, Samuel Latter voiced just one regret.

When running a car tyre and battery firm, “I could have bought into a new business with one of my customers — wee Tommy Farmer — but I wanted to stay on my own”.

Wee Tommy Farmer is now better known as Sir Tom Farmer, head of the Kwik-Fit empire.

Believed to be Scotland’s oldest man, Mr Latter is the Glasgow-born son of a tailor from Riga. A fine footballer in his youth, he played professionally in Scotland for Third Lanark, to the dismay of his mother, who disliked the physicality of the sport and the fact that most matches were played on Shabbat .

“I was playing against Aberdeen and my face was cut,” he recalled. “When I got home my mother said enough was enough and threw my boots on the fire.”

Although he managed to salvage the boots and continue playing football, marriage to Flora, an Edinburgh girl, prompted a change of career and besides the motoring accessories firm, business ventures included a sweet shop. During the war, he trained fighter pilots as an RAF officer.

His birthday celebrations were joined by nieces, nephews and his many friends at the residential home in Edinburgh where he has lived since 2000. He attributes his longevity to “luck”.

Last updated: 4:11pm, January 7 2010