THE nephew of a wellknown Saltcoats centenarian who died recently has paid tribute to his late uncle.

Peter Reilly BEM, affectionately known to many as ‘Uncle Peter’, passed away last month at the age of 103.

Nephew Joe Timmins described his beloved relative as “a fine old gentleman, just a good man”.

He said: “It’s a big loss. Our lives are changed, but his spirit lives on. He’s made a strong impact.

“He got visitors every day, probably three or four a day. He died peacefully and happy. He had five nieces and nephews with him when he passed.”

Until recent months, Peter was still living at the house where he was born in the town’s Manse Street.

The life-long bachelor attended St Mary’s Church for 91 years, holding the Guinness World Record as the longestserving altar boy. In 2015 Peter was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to the community in Saltcoats.

He is survived by his 11 nieces and nephews and their families.

Joe said:“He was failing towards the end of his life physically, not mentally though. He had a good life, an interesting life. He lived through two World Wars and saw a lot of change. He went to private school in the 1920s, which probably wasn’t that common then.

“St Mary’s Church closed for refurbishment, so we took him in a wheelchair to the last Saturday mass.

We said to him: ‘You can come and cut the ribbon in three months’ time when it reopens’. Obviously, he won’t be now, but he’ll be there in spirit.

“A couple of weeks before he died, we got him out to St John’s in Stevenston. He was receiving the blood of Christ, but he wasn’t that happy with the quality of the wine!

“He was very fond of Ireland and he visited most years since he was a boy. The family will continue to visit there.

“He always said the secret to a long life was everything in moderation, say your prayers and a fatfree diet.

“He was not one to raise his voice. He was quiet, reserved. He was also a great supporter of the poor and those less fortunate but in a low-key way.”