A great grandmother from South Oxhey, one of the estate’s renowned characters, passed away on Monday, July 9, after suffering a stroke the week before. She was 79 years old.

Rita Braine, of Hayling Road, moved to South Oxhey in the 1950s. She had three children, Freddie, Tony and Annette, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Soon after arriving on the estate she had a lucky escape. She missed her train at Harrow and Wealdstone station and it later crashed, claiming 112 lives. Another 340 people were injured, making it Great Britain’s worst rail disaster.

As well as being a busy mum, Rita held a number of local jobs which turned her into a very familiar face to many people living on the estate.

During the 60s she worked at the John Menzies newspaper stand at Carpenders Park Station and Bill Taylor’s Cafe on the estate.

She also worked at several of the green grocers’ and supervised a team of housewife home-workers making Christmas crackers.

Rita was a keen gardener with an abundant vegetable plot, so much so that she regularly grew more than she could eat and gave much of it away to friends and neighbours.

During the 1980s she was well-known in the area for breeding budgies and had a very large aviary at her home.

Full of energy, Rita did all her own decorating and even dug her own fish pond. She laid a large patio only a few years ago.

She was very artistic and her home was often a talking point as she made her own Christmas decorations.

Despite having heart problems, she was always active and was often seen at the local shops and frequently took the bus into Watford.

Daughter Annette Larner said: “Mum was well known for her no-nonsense, down-to-earth and fun personality. “She was a real character and always a laugh.

“She never tired of helping people and nothing was ever too much trouble.”

The funeral service will be held at St Mathews Church, Oxhey, at 1.15pm on Tuesday, July 24, with interment at Carpenders Park Cemetery at 2.30pm. Flowers should be sent to MK Ginder and Sons, Unit 1b, Greycaine Road, Watford, WD24 7GP.