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Family pays tribute to ‘inspirational’ Ipswich Town and Bury Town fan Ethel Walton

PUBLISHED: 22:12 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 06:28 04 August 2017

Ethel Walton, who lived in the same house in Bury St Edmunds for 83 years, died just a week before her 106th birthday. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Ethel Walton, who lived in the same house in Bury St Edmunds for 83 years, died just a week before her 106th birthday. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

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A family has paid tribute to a “proud and inspirational” Bury St Edmunds woman who died just a week before her 106th birthday.

Ethel Walton. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Ethel Walton. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Ethel Walton, who was born in Rougham, lived in the same house in Blomfield Street for 83 years and her garden path was constructed of concrete blocks retrieved from a World War Two air raid shelter.

Described by her family as an “amazing lady with a big personality”, Ethel was an avid football fan and a keen supporter of both Bury Town and Ipswich Town – where she was a season ticket holder well into her 90s. To celebrate her 100th birthday she was taken to a match at Portman Road.

She also held a passion for flowers, and was very proud to have been presented with a Bury in Bloom award for her garden at the age of 102.

Born in 1911, Ethel had three younger brothers – Sonny, George and Walter – who, alongside her father, worked on a nearby farm.

At the age of 14, she became a nursemaid to two young children at a large house in Richmond, Surrey, before returning to Rougham to find work as housemaid at a large house in Bury St Edmunds.

It was there she met Ernest, who lived nearby, and the couple married at Rougham Church on Boxing Day 1934 before moving to Blomfield Street – where she remained until April of this year.

During World War Two, Ethel would invite various American airmen to join her family for Sunday roast dinners, and the servicemen would treat her with bananas and chocolate from the airbase at Mildenhall.

She had two children, son Michael – born in 1937 – and daughter Marian, who came along nine years later.

Ethel had four grandchildren, five great grandchildren and the recent addition of a great, great grandson.

Granddaughter Michele Bailey said: “Nan was an amazing lady with a big personality who lived life to the full.

“She made an impression on everybody she met and simply refused to become ‘old’ as her 106 years of life progressed.

“She was a proud, independent and inspirational lady who managed to live by herself until the last three months of her long life, and will be greatly missed.”

A spokesman for Ipswich Town FC said: “The club were saddened to learn of the passing of Ethel and we pass on our condolences to her family and friends at this difficult time.

“The loyal support she showed the club over the years was fantastic and there’s no denying that she was the epitome of a ‘true blue’.”

Russell Ward, chairman of Bury Town FC, said: “The club is saddened to learn of Ethel’s passing. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

Her funeral will be held at Risby Crematorium on Friday, August 18, at 1.30pm and all are welcome.

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