Barnstaple’s Les is 90 years young

Joseph Bulmer

AGE is no barrier to a globetrotting Barnstaple man who at the age of 90 still finds time to go dancing twice a week - between trips to the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China!

On Saturday Les Weaver from Roundswell celebrated a ninth decade, as friends and neighbours at Roundswell threw a party.

The week before Les travelled to Cornwall for a family party with children Bob and Carole, who said: “Since his retirement there has been no stopping him.

“He is a very strong personality, an inspiration and we hope to have inherited his genes!”

The retired designer and draughtsman still rides his Honda 90 most days and has been told he could very well be the oldest motorcyclist in North Devon.

He goes square dancing twice weekly at the Silver Spurs club, is a member of two social clubs The Roundswell Monday Club plus the Good Companions. In his “quieter” moments he paints and is learning to use a sewing machine.

The past 12 years have seen him visit practically every continent and more than 40 countries with dancing partner Jo, from South America and Australia to Africa. The last three have included trips to China and America, with holidays to Turkey and Corfu planned this year. Sadly Jo was taken ill in October and is still recovering.

His philosophy for it all is simple: “I’m looking forward to continuing to enjoy life, helping other people enjoy theirs and not worrying about anything.

“That is such a waste of emotion, it does not do any good and I am sure that has attributed to my long life. Laughing in the face of adversity is also important and getting those around you to see the funny side. If they’re having a bad day, cheer them up and then you feel good yourself.”

Les survived a “medium” heart attack 10 years ago but is fully recovered and follows a daily exercise routine, which together with the dancing keeps him in good shape.

He moved to Barnstaple in 1971, going to work as designer at a Pottington factory and moving on to Hobart Ltd as a freelance contractor until his retirement in 1988. He has also been a keen sailor, horse rider and skier.

A self made man, he left school aged 14 with “virtually no education” and volunteered for the RAF in 1940, training as a aero-engine fitter and working on Lancaster and then Mosquito bombers with Pathfinder Squadron 162.