A “TRUE gentleman” from Verwood with a passion for gardening has celebrated his 100th birthday.

Roy Fripp, of Margards Lane, enjoyed reaching the landmark surrounded by friends and family at St Leonard’s Hotel in Ringwood on Saturday.

The last survivor of his four siblings, he was joined by three generations of family, including his niece, great niece and a clutch of great-great nieces and nephews.

Full of enthusiasm and having only married his second wife Yvonne in 2010, Roy opened his card from the Queen and regaled his visitors with anecdotes from his past.

“It was a marvellous day,” he said. “When people ask me about my longevity I don’t know what to say – I don’t really think there is any secret behind it. “ Born and raised in Kent alongside one sister and three brothers, Roy worked in telecommunications and served in the RAF during the Second World War, starting as a regiment gunner and working his way up to sergeant.

His first wife, Winifred, passed away a decade ago after more than 60 years of marriage.

Remarkably, aged 96, he wed again to Yvonne after meeting in Eastbourne and they have lived together happily ever since.

Yvonne described Roy as “an absolutely wonderful man”, crediting his great age on a healthy diet and his love for gardening.

“Until a couple of years ago you could still see him going up and down ladders,” she added.

“Everybody around here loves him. He is a true gentleman - the old fashioned soldier type.”