A LEWISHAM-BORN romance writer who lived to 105, becoming the world's oldest novelist, has passed away.

Ida Pollock, who wrote for Mills & Boon, died just weeks before her 125th novel was published.

Ms Pollock, born Ida Crowe in Lewisham back in 1908, was the daughter of an unknown father, rumoured to be a Russian duke, who met her mother at a Greenwich ball.

She began writing from the age of 10 while still at school, penning short stories after being bought a typewriter by her mother and selling her first full-length manuscript a decade later.

Along with her racey plots in novels like White Heat and Interlude for Love, which she described as often involving "a rather hard-up young woman and a rich overlord", she was known for her prolific output.

During one five year period she released a staggering 40 books, and wrote under a variety of pen names including Anita Charles, Mary Whistler and Marguerite Bell.

Vice chairwoman of the Romantic Novelists' Association Sue Moorcroft said: "I have nothing but admiration for such a prolific writer, one who found success in her teens and influenced romantic fiction for years.

"Judging from the number of names she wrote under for different publishers, Ida had that elusive mix of creativity and business acumen that characterises many bestsellers.

"I'm proud that she was one of the founder members of the Romantic Novelists' Association."