Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 5°C

min temp: -2°C

Search

Felixstowe/Ipswich: Tributes are paid to inspiring Grace

13:00 17 December 2012

Grace Cole on her 100th birthday.

Grace Cole on her 100th birthday.

SHE travelled the world, rubbed shoulders with royalty and helped to fight fires during the blitz in London.

Described as a bit of a rebel, warm tributes were paid today to 103-year-old Grace Cole, the former owner of one of Felixstowe’s best known women’s fashion shops, following her death on December 6.

Friends and family gathered together on Thursday to pay their respects to Grace, formerly of Colneis Road, who owned Russell Smith in Hamilton Road between 1956 to the mid 1970s.

A designer by trade, she won the coveted fashion designer of the year title three times and made clothing for royalty.

Her daughter, Rosemary Rackham, said: “She was very adventurous.

“Most mums back then would have been at home but she was out working, which was very unusual in those days.

“She always was a bit of a rebel, before her time in many ways.”

Grace was born in north London in December 1909 and moved to Singapore when she was 21 where she earned enough money to open her own clothing shop in Orchard Road, the country’s major shopping area.

She travelled to other Asian countries and got to know the Sultan of Johor, making European-style dresses for his wives.

During the war she ran three factories in London which were making uniforms and other items for soldiers – but there was plenty to do outside of work hours as well.

Mrs Rackham added: “She was struggling all day to keep up with orders and would spend the night on the roof during bombing raids with sand bags to put out any fires started by incendiary bombs.”

Grace and her husband Lionel, who died about 13 years ago, took over at Russell Smith and they later had a successful mail order clothes company from premises in Highfield Road, Felixstowe.

Grace continued living in Felixstowe until a few years ago when she moved into Alice Grange care home, in Kesgrave.

Mrs Rackham added: “It has become clear in the last few weeks that they (staff at the home) all loved her quirky ways and their chats with her.

“We shall miss her but count ourselves privileged to have known her.”

Grace had one daughter, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

■ What are your memories of Grace? E-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

0 comments

Freezing weather is likely to bring widespread ice and treacherous conditions across Suffolk and north Essex tonight with temperatures as low as -7C forecast for parts of the region.

A Suffolk charity is seeking fundraising fugitives to join its rogues gallery in the slammer.

Suffolk households affected by a burst main this morning may be left without water until midnight.

He risked his life for our freedom, flying in 31 raids on Nazi Germany, and he lived to tell the tale.

‘Crude, clumsy and pointlessly lurid’ or ‘colourful, practical and deliverable’ the design for a Suffolk town’s new-look leisure centre has divided opinion.

The British government must be prepared to stand up to new US President Donald Trump when senior ministers visit him for the first time.

Fast cars, towering mansions and luxurious holidays are usually top of the shopping list for young popstars earning millions of pounds.

Paper owls which were a focal point in a shop’s window display have been sold off to raise cash for Woodbridge Royal British Legion.

A well-attended weekly run is cancelled today due to problems on the course.

Last week an American girl came to work in our office, writes working mum-of-three Ellen Widdup.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24