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Record-breaking Erith dancer dies aged 105

PUBLISHED: 11:03 17 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:15 17 May 2016

Frederick Salter with Bruce Forsyth at the Pride of Britain Awards

Frederick Salter with Bruce Forsyth at the Pride of Britain Awards

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Frederick Salter was honoured at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2010

An Erith man who made the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s oldest competitive ballroom dancer has died at the age of 105.

Frederick ‘Fred’ Salter, who also scooped the feelgood factor award at the 2010 Pride of Britain Awards, passed away at the Queen Elizabeth hospital on Sunday, May 8.

His friend Derek Whale said that he remained active until the last few months of his life, and when asked what was the secret of his longevity, he would reply ‘cabbage’.

“He was active all the time - even at the age of 103, he was cutting the grass and cleaning the windows,” Mr Whale said.

“He had a very positive attitude to life and he had a very loving wife, Amy - they were married for 62 years.

“He worked until he was 84, first as a ship’s engineer and then for a pharmaceutical company. He liked to drink but not excessively and had a very strong personality.”

Mr Salter took up ballroom dancing in his early 90s after his family encouraged him to get out of the house more often.

Although he suffered a stroke in 2010, which caused him to lose the power of speech for about a month, he recovered and returned to the dancefloor.

He was presented with his Pride of Britain award by Strictly Come Dancing host Bruce Forsyth, with Prince Charles and prime minister David Cameron present at the ceremony.

Mr Salter was a corporal in the Scots Guards during the Second World War, fighting at El Alamein in North Africa and the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.

“He was the oldest surviving member of the Scots Guards and the oldest survivor in his division,” Mr Whale said.

“It was maybe three or four years ago that we last marched down the cenotaph. You are out for an hour and a half in Horseguards Parade and stand for about an hour until you set off.

“He was made a patron of Charlton Athletic and we went down there a few times because he had a great love of the club,” Mr Whale added.

Mr Salter is survived by four of his five children and more than 35 great grandchildren.

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