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Obituary: Children of oldest and much-loved lollipop lady from West Hampstead pay tribute to her life

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 July 2013

Bridie Dillon, the oldest recorded lollipop lady, pictured in 2000. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Bridie Dillon, the oldest recorded lollipop lady, pictured in 2000. Picture: Nigel Sutton

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The oldest lollipop lady in the world, who partied with Boy George in the '90s, has died the day before her 93rd birthday at the West Hampstead home she lived in for 60 years.

The oldest lollipop lady in the world, who partied with Boy George in the ’90s, has died the day before her 93rd birthday at the West Hampstead home she lived in for 60 years.

Dedicated churchgoer and community stalwart Bridie Dillon, who lived in Mill Lane for over 70 years in two different properties, was one of the first people to receive a British Empire Medal for outstanding community work.

Her two children, Marc Dillon and Maureen Wolfe, remembered their kind and caring mother as someone who had a “heart of gold” and a “movie star personality”.

She passed away peacefully at her home on Monday.

Bridie was born into an Irish Catholic family in 1920 in Tipperary. Moving to Kilburn in 1937, she followed in the footsteps of her father by becoming a “local hero”.

Her son Marc remembered: “Everybody knew her. Her father was a model leader in his community and she was exactly the same.”

She met her future husband Ben at a dance hall, falling in love with his feet because he was such a good mover. They married in 1939 and after the Second World War, they moved to their first property in Mill Lane. They later moved down the road in 1953, to a flat Bridie lived in ever since.

When the war was over, she was a housekeeper at Westfield College, part of the University of London, in Finchley Road. While working there, she met a young wheelchair-bound woman who needed help to do the most basic tasks, at a time when full-time care was not available.

Every morning and night Bridie would care for the woman, Janet Evans, which allowed her to get her degree and eventually go on to complete a PhD.

Bridie received her BEM in 1992 for this outstanding community service, one of the first people to receive the accolade.

She retired shortly after the college closed in 1989 but her work was not done there.

She then signed up to be a lollipop lady at Emmanuel CofE Primary School, in Mill Lane, aged 70, where she helped thousands of children cross the road safely.

Officially the oldest recorded lollipop lady in the world in the Guinness Book of World Records, she finally hung up her fluorescent jacket aged 84.

After she was featured on the Lily Savage Show in the ’90s, Boy George, who also hails from Tipperary, asked Bridie to attend his birthday party.

Bridie Dillion is survived by son Mark, daughter Maureen, grandchildren Paul, Ciaran, Nicola, and Conrad and great-grandchildren Tom, Zoe, Nicholas, Christian and Daniel.

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