Bella Richman, one of Britain’s oldest women, has died, aged 107.
Born in Spitalfields in London’s East End, Mrs Richmon — who preferred being addressed by her nickname of Billie — spent her early working years at Universal Studios in Soho, where she met Charlie Chaplin and other stars of the day.
She married David, a lingerie factory owner, in 1934, and moved to live with family in Blackpool in 1940 after the factory was bombed. Her husband followed after completing his military service.
She went on to open Boutique Helene in Preston, which became a well-known store in the area. She worked until she was 85, living in St Anne’s. Her final years were spent in a care home.
One of her daughters, Jeanette Allday, 81, said Mrs Richman had been “an inspiration” to five generations of family.
“My mother had a wonderful disposition. People loved her from all walks of life.
“She loved being involved with the synagogue in St Anne’s and also getting involved with her favourite charities like Wizo.”
Rabbi Ephraim Guttentag of St Anne’s Hebrew Congregation has fond memories of Mrs Richmon’s 105th and 106th birthday celebrations.
“Billie was one of those truly lovely people who was very charming,” he said. “She had just received a birthday card from the Queen but in her lovely manner she said she was just as honoured to see me at her birthday party. We shared a lovely l’chaim together.”