Nora McDowell, owner of Romford’s first pie and mash shop, dies

The owner of Romford’s first pie and mash shop has died after 30 years of serving up the traditional East End grub.

Nora McDowell, 80 who ran Romford Pie And Mash Shop in High Street lost her battle against cancer on May 29 and was laid to rest after a special service in St Thomas’ Church in Harold Hill on Tuesday June 12.

Nora’s son Terry McDowell said: “She was a very much loved and well respected lady.

“She will be missed by everyone in the family, but also all of the customers because she played such a big part in the community.”

Nora, who has seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren set up the business with her husband Reg in 1984.

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When Reg died in 1989, Nora continued to run the business with the help of her children Terry, 57, Stephen, 59 and Linda, 52.

Ten years ago, Nora retired but Terry says that she was still a familiar face behind the counter.

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He said: “She loved being in the shop, she used to be there at least three times a week chatting to the customers and they loved seeing her too.

“She served most of the customers when they were kids and she even remembered members of their families.”

He added: “When mum and dad first set up the Romford business it was the first pie and mash shop in the area.

“Now there are lots of fast food places, but back then pie and mash was the original fast food shop.”

Nora’s love of pie and mash started when she was courting her husband Reg.

The pair used to enjoy the traditional meal at the Heath Pie Shop in Dagenham, which they eventually brought in the early 60s.

The family also own a pie and mash shop in Basildon and McDowell’s Pie Shop in Romford Shopping Hall.

Terry said: “It is a really family business.

“All of my children and my brother and sister’s children work in the shops, we even have our nieces and nephews and their partners, but mum was the matriarch of the whole family.”

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