BORN in Reading in 1929, Eileen first formed links with the Henley area when she met her future
BORN in Reading in 1929, Eileen first formed links with the Henley area when she met her future best friend Pauline Fidler as an apprentice at Heelas Brothers in 1943 and started visiting Pauline’s family in Shiplake.
She later “walked out with” Pauline’s brother Norman and they eventually married in 1952.
After a few years in Essex, Eileen and Norman moved to Henley in 1965 with baby daughter Susan and became part of the baby boom that was Berkshire Road in the Sixties.
Eileen made many friends in the area, which was full of young mums and pre-school children.
In 1968 she started working part-time at Penningtons on Duke Street and became full-time manager a few years later. She worked with and served many Henley women.
She was also a regular at the evening classes that used to be held in the old infants’ school in Greys Road, particularly liking flower arranging, making dried flowers and Christmas cookery classes.
When Penningtons closed in 1975 Eileen moved to Gladys Falloon in Bell Street for several years before being poached by Pamela Scott, where she worked until her retirement in 1990.
Back on Duke Street again, she finally got to use her brilliant buying skills for the benefit of her regular customers as well as her selling prowess. She will be well remembered by many as an expert at managing the small shop single-handed, juggling multiple customers and the tiny changing room area with ease.
She was always elegantly dressed, with a bright smile and the skill to pick the best outfit off the rack for every visitor.
Outside work Eileen loved her family, home and garden. She adored her greenhouse, growing her annuals from seed and producing summer salads.
She loved to walk and would stroll over Drawback Hill and into Harpsden Woods with the dog, Sandy, or along the river at Henley and Shiplake.
She was an avid reader and filled the winter evenings with knitting, tapestry and crochet. After her retirement, Eileen and Norman moved to Sonning Common and then Tilehurst and Reading.
They remained regular visitors to Henley and kept up with many friends from work and the St Andrew’s Road area. They finally moved to Brockenhurst in the New Forest in 2009.
Eileen went into Woodpeckers Care Home when Norman died in 2011. It was here she passed away in her sleep on Friday night after a gradual decline.
Her funeral will take place at St Nicholas’ Church, Brockenhurst, next Friday (June 12) at 11.30am.
The service will be followed by drinks at the Hobler Inn, Southampton Road, near Lymington, SO41 8PT.