Harold Hill pensioner died on way to prayer group

�A church community is in shock after one of its “cherished members” died following a collision with a car on the A12.

Bridget Lillis, known as “Breda”, from Woodstock Avenue, Harold Hill, suffered severe head injuries in the accident on the westbound carriageway of the A12 Eastern Avenue, opposite the junction with Petersfield Avenue, at about 6pm, on Tuesday of last week.

The 80-year-old was on her way to a prayer group meeting at St Teresa’s Church, Newbury Park, Redbridge, and was crossing from the south footway of the carriageway when she was in collision with a Lexus car.

The pensioner was taken to the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, where she died the following day.

Father Joseph Tan, the parish priest at the Most Holy Redeemer Church, in Petersfield Avenue, which Mrs Lillis attended, said: “The whole community is in shock. She always went to the prayer group every Tuesday at Newbury Park. Come rain or snow, she would be there.

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“They knew something was wrong when she didn’t turn up because it was so unlike her.”

Mrs Lillis attended the church for more than 50 years and was a keen reader and eucharistic minister.

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She also spent many years accompanying large groups of disabled people on pilgrimages to Lourdes in France.

Father Tan said: “She was a very spiritual person and she always made sure that God came first in her life.

“Her death is a big loss to the parish. She always had time for everyone and lots of the children cried on Sunday when I told them that she had died.”

He added: “She was always the first person in mass on a Sunday and I would always joke and tell her that it was not a Harrods sale.”

Mrs Lillis worked for 23 years as a dinner lady at St Ursula’s Infant School in Straight Road, Harold Hill before retiring in her 60s.

She also spent nine years working as a school governor.

Kath O’Conner, the former headteacher of St Ursula’s school said: “She was such a wonderful friend and faithful colleague, a gentle lady and it was the greatest privilege to have known her. Breda was without a doubt, one of the most special people one could ever know.

She added: “Her wonderful smile will linger on in our memories and that is how we will always see her, radiant and happy, and always doing something good for someone, for everyone, never thinking of herself, always putting the needs of others before her own needs. No words can adequately describe such a very special lady.”

Tuesday’s prayer group at St Teresa’s Church has been cancelled as a mark of respect for Mrs Lillis.

Her funeral is due to take place on the same day at The Most Holy Redeemer Church.

Father Eamonn Power, from St Teresa’s Church, said: “She was a very dedicated member of the prayer group and she was also very dedicated to the ministry.

“She always enjoyed the prayer group and God was the most important person in her life.”

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