A FOOTBALL fanatic and former insurance manager in Kidderminster has died three weeks before his 101st birthday.

Reg Stewart, who lived in Prince Rupert Road, Stourport, for 48 years, was manager of the Co-operative Insurance Society office from 1963 until he retired in 1977.

He was a lifelong fan of Aston Villa Football Club, going to his first match in the early 1920s and continuing to do so until he was in his 80s.

The club marked his 100th birthday in March last year by presenting him with a shirt signed by the first team squad.

Mr Stewart was born in Nuneaton and had a trial for England schoolboys but was edged out, in his words, by “a beefier forward”. He was on Nuneaton Borough’s books, however and scored a hat-trick on his debut for their reserves.

He was in a field ambulance division in the Second World War, playing several games alongside England and Middlesborough forward Wilf Mannion when they were serving in Italy.

Mr Stewart moved two years ago to Moat House Retirement Home in Burbage, Leicestershire, to be nearer his son Paul. Reg died there peacefully on Sunday, February 24.

Paul said: “Dad was always happy and pleased to chat to people. He often said ‘I’ve had a good life, I’ve been a lucky bloke’.”

His funeral will take place at the Heart of England Crematorium, Nuneaton, at 12.45pm on Tuesday, March 12.