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Barking and Dagenham’s oldest resident remembered as ‘young at heart’ at moving funeral

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 January 2017

Lilian Twinley was Barking and Dagenham's oldest resident when she died aged 108

Lilian Twinley was Barking and Dagenham's oldest resident when she died aged 108

Archant

Family and friends shed tears as they celebrated the life of a “young at heart” great-great-grandmother who died aged 108.

Lilian TwinleyLilian Twinley

A moving funeral remembered the borough’s oldest resident Lilian Alice Twinley, who lived in Rugby Road, Dagenham for more than 60 years.

Speaking at South Essex Crematorium during yesterday’s service, great-grandson Ashley Downes said: “Family meant everything to her.

“She always joined in all the fun and games, she very often said: ‘Laugh and the world will laugh with you.’ Nana was young at heart.”

Lilian was surrounded by her children and grandchildren in Queen’s Hospital, Romford, when she passed away after a fall last month.

Flowers in tribute to Lilian TwinleyFlowers in tribute to Lilian Twinley

Born in 1908 as the daughter of a costermonger, Lilian was six when the First World War broke out.

She grew up in Poplar in a close-knit community, the eldest of three children. Resourceful Lilian got a job at a dog biscuit factory before meeting Edward Twinley, who she married on a snowy Christmas day in 1930 at St Stephen’s Church in Poplar.

But their home was bombed in the Blitz, forcing the family to move to Dagenham.

After bringing up her two children, Sheila and Edward, Lilian joined Ripple Road Primary School in Barking as a dinner lady for 20 years.

Rev Alison Horncastle, who led a service punctuated by Frank Sinatra’s Young at Heart and Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable, described how Lilian continued to lead a happy life in assisted accommodation at Harp House, years after Edward’s death from cancer.

“She was kind, warm-hearted and generous, she never moaned even though she sometimes had cause to,” she said.

Lilian is survived by her two children, four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

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