Birthday boy Kenneth a marvel at 105
IT'S a well known statistic that women generally outlive their male counterparts but centenarian Kenneth Weeks is giving those figures a bit of shake up.
Mr Weeks turned 105 on Friday and could quite possibly lay claim to the crown of being the oldest man in the Clarence.
And while reaching the milestone is a feat in itself, his idea of what life should be like in that vintage is astonishing.
He only recently moved into the Grafton Whiddon Group home to receive some extra help after living independently in his own home since his wife Jean died in 1986.
Mr Weeks was regularly seen riding his bicycle around Grafton well into his nineties, is an avid computer user and until moving into care, was enjoying life in his new two-storey place, a recent purchase after the home his family held his whole life, was sacrificed for the new Grafton bridge.
Kenneth (Ken) Weeks came into the world on October 5, 1913, the year after the Titanic sank and a year before the First World War began.
He was born at Braylesford, Dovedale, on the riverbank (now Dovedale St). His parents ran a farm at Carrs Creek and he was educated at Carrs Creek and Grafton Primary and High Schools
Mr Weeks left school during The Great Depression and had trouble finding employment at first. He became a motor mechanic and later, a partner in a garage before moving into truck driving during the days when loading of gravel was done by hand.
He learned to fly a plane but wasn't able to navigate solo due to having low blood pressure. Before WW2, he applied to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force as a cadet pilot but they had stopped recruiting in Australia at that time.
When WW2 broke out, he applied to join the Australian Air Force, but due to his blood pressure issue and small stature, he wasn't accepted.
During the war he drove a truck involved in airport constructions in northern NSW. He lived in a tent at the time but after a storm blew it down, he built and lived in a caravan.
Mr Weeks married Swan Creek farm girl Jean McPhee in 1940 and started a family while navigating various employment opportunities.
During the war, he taught himself electronics and later sold the truck and opened a radio and electrical business in Prince St, Grafton, late in the war
During this time he took an interest in sailing and built and raced a VS sailing boat on the Clarence. He also built a fishing boat and did some bus driving for his brother Gordon who owned the company.
In the 1960s he converted the electrical business to a milk bar. In the late 1960s he sold that business and became a clerk in the Grafton Electoral Office.
Mr Weeks retired in 1978 but spent his time helping his friend with his boating and fishing business while enjoying some touring with him.
A significant activity in his retirement, the same retirement he has been enjoying for the past 40 years, was going on long walks.
He said he loved dark chocolate but did not like vegetables or fish. He was not sure what contributed to his longevity, though he walked and rode a bike for most of his life.
He also still liked socialising with people.
Leisure Team Co-ordinator Cheryl Ryan said the Grafton Whiddon Group and their staff felt incredibly privileged and delighted to be able to share this very special celebration with Mr Weeks, while she presented him a gift box including chocolate treats, socks and a grooming set.
"We all wish him a wonderful and happy 105th birthday,” Ms Ryan said.
"He really is an amazing man.”