Barking and Dagenham volunteers rename get-together to honour ‘special’ Bridget Hayes

PUBLISHED: 13:41 07 March 2017

Bridget Hayes passed away shortly after her 90th birthday. Here, pictured on her 89th birthday.

Bridget Hayes passed away shortly after her 90th birthday. Here, pictured on her 89th birthday.


A “most fantastic woman” who died at 90 will be honoured at the club where she spent many of her later years.

Bridget Hayes at the Wednesday get-together in Ripple Road, Barking.Bridget Hayes at the Wednesday get-together in Ripple Road, Barking.

Barking and Dagenham Volunteer Bureau’s Thursday get-together group at Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club will be renamed Bridget Hayes, after the active member passed away on Saturday.

The Irish mother-of-three, born Bridget Byrne, moved to the area in 1961, where her husband Thomas Hayes had already found work at Dagenham Ford.

Son David, 65, who lives in his parents’ former house in Review Road, Dagenham, recalled an industrious couple who were always working.

“I remember she had two or three jobs, she used to clean the convent in Dagenham and worked at May & Baker,” he said.

“They never stopped working but they were both very generous, without them I’d have nothing. They looked after us fantastically well.”

Thomas’ death from a heart attack in 1957 was a tough time for his mother, David said.

“It was terrible for her, a very difficult time. They had a fantastic, happy marriage, they were great together.”

When Bridget met her new partner, Jack Betson, David remembers trying to encourage them to socialise more by coming with them to the club at the Royal British Legion.

Soon, she was hooked.

“She got into anything, bingo, the social side, she loved people,” said David.

After Jack had passed away, David signed Bridget up for the volunteer bureau’s befriending service, through which she made many friends and outings.

In her final five years, she would get picked up by the bureau from Chaseview residential home in Rush Green to make her meet-ups on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Lynne Hopkins, volunteer coordinator at the bureau, remembers an enthusiastic member of eight years with a “heart of gold”.

“She loved her bingo and whenever we had music, especially a visit from the pearly kings and queens, she would be up dancing,” she said. “She never moaned about anything and was always so grateful for what people where doing for her.”

Lynne and David joined Bridget for her birthdays, including her 90th last Tuesday at Gable Court in Romford, just days before Bridget’s death from a pulmonary complication.

“She was a special person with a heart of gold,” said Lynne. “She was a special lady loved by staff, volunteers and members of the volunteer bureau and the get-together club.”

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