MONMOUTH'S oldest resident has died three weeks short of his 105th birthday.

Fred Pyner lived in the Monmouth School almshouses just a few hundred yards from where he was born in Cinderhill Street on November 3, 1901.

He was the last surviving founder member of Monmouth Rowing Club from 1929 and was a driving force behind the building of the current clubhouse.

Members were delighted to be able to carry his name to victory on a boat at the Monmouth Head race last month, adding to regatta wins this season at Llandaff, Bewdley and Ross.

Fred attended Overmonnow Infants and Priory Street schools before going to Monmouth School. He spent his working life in the grocery trade having started as an apprentice at William Hall's.

He spent many years running a shop in Wyebridge Street for Miss Moses until it was closed to make way for the bypass.

He then went to Williams & Cotton's and remained there after it was taken over by Oakeshott's until retiring.

During the Second World War, when he was a member of the Home Guard, he met future wife Muriel Richards, a nurse, and they married in Monmouth Baptist Chapel in 1941.

She was Matron at the Almshouses for many years until her death in 1976 when Fred moved from the Matron's house to another of the almshouses. Son Anthony was born in 1944.

Fred was a long-serving secretary of Monmouth Rowing Club but he never rowed in a race - he preferred to take out a pleasure boat, scull it upstream, tie it to a tree and read a book.

His funeral is tomorrow (Friday).