A PROUD Cestrian who turns 100 later this month is full of praise for the city which he has lived in all his life.

Charles Buckley, now of Grasmere Road, Newton, grew up in Handbridge in an area with a history of salmon fishing at the River Dee.

Charles, who will celebrate his 100th birthday on May 24, said: "There were 11 of us in the fishing family. Once, one of my dad's brothers caught over 40 salmon in one day.

"It's all gone now, the fishing. Back then the salmon fishing season would start in March and end in August.

"On weekends, there was nothing else to do but to go to the pubs, have a sing-song, get drunk and come home for an argument! As soon as 12 o'clock came they would settle down, ready to start fishing the next day."

Speaking about the city, Charles said: "I have lived in Chester all my life and it's a wonderful place, one of the loveliest in the world. It has the Roman city walls and we even have Roman soldiers, and the whole world should know about it.

"There's a wonderful river and there are factories making cars and for planes. It is ideally located for people who want to go to the beach, to the airport and around the country."

He met his future wife Iris outside the Grosvenor Hotel in Eastgate Street, later marrying her in 1940.

Together, they enjoyed many happy years before she sadly passed away eight years ago.

Charles, who has six grandchildren "all doing well", said of Iris: "All the photos in this house are of her smiling, so to me she's still around.

"We got to go on many holidays in many countries around the world together, we did so much; they were the happiest times of my life."

Charles, who has kept a scrapbook filled with newspaper cuttings featuring him and his family's achievements over the years, worked as a caretaker for the King's School Chester when it was still located in the city centre.

He was then was employed for 30 years with wife Iris at Newton School until retirement in 1983.

He said: "Some caretakers could possibly be a bit aloof, but me and my wife got on well with everybody at the school. I have worked with children all my life and enjoyed every minute of it - and I would do it again."

Charles is now looking forward to a family gathering to mark the big day, and a congratulatory card from the Queen arriving in the post.