A FORMER Post Office worker from Portishead, described as ‘one of life’s gentlemen’, has died at the age of 92.

A keen sportsman and also a dancer, Fred Chapman was well-known in the town for his time spent as a counter clerk at Portishead Post Office from 1961 until he retired in 1980.

In the 1970s he was also known for his role as secretary of the Workingmen’s Club, as a member of the Portishead Royal British Legion bowls club and for running classes in old time and modern sequence dancing.

Fred was born in Ireland in October 1920 but later moved to England, where in 1930 he went to school in Dover before moving into the Army Royal Corps of Signals as a radio operator.

In World War Two he was posted to Singapore where he was taken as a war prisoner. He spent time in the infamous Changi prison before working on the Burma railway and then being sent to work in Japanese copper mines until the end of the war.

He met his wife Margaret at a dance in Bath in 1946 and they had four children before moving the family to Portishead in 1961.

Fred, who was much-loved by his many relatives, died on January 30 at Haven Lodge Care Home, where he was a resident.

His son Steve Chapman said: “He was one of life’s gentlemen, a terrific dad and grandad and a true friend.”

His grandson Gareth Excell, to whom he was very close, added: “He was the kindest and sweetest man I have had the pleasure of spending time with.

“I will miss him everyday and for the rest of my life, but I know he will always be with me.

“He was excellent at recognising potential - telling me that Tiger Woods would be a good golfer one day, after we watched him win his 10th Major.”