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Spitfire fixer 'nanny Alice' dies
3:30pm Sunday 18th August 2013 in News
A GREAT-great grandmother who helped Britain win World War Two by repairing the wings for Spitfires has died aged 91, prompting tributes.
Mother-of-twelve Sybil Beatrice Wakefield, known by all as 'Alice', had 75 grandchildren of different generations. She passed away on Friday, following a seven year battle with cancer.
Alice was renowned for her crochet blankets and ponchos, with hundreds of children around Marlow having one made by her over the years.
Her family said she was most recognised around the town by the fact she ventured into town every morning pushing her pram wearing a carefully selected head scarf and pinny.
She would be seen bantering with the stall holders at the market or heading to a meeting point with her friends, such as Iceland supermarket.
A tribute written by her family read: "Alice will be very sadly missed by all her family and friends.
"Apart from having her own large family, Alice was well known for her motherly nature, she was a second mum to so many and known as 'Nanny Alice' to everybody else.
"Also for her generosity, there aren't many people in Marlow who wouldn't have sampled either her toffee apples, sausage rolls, Cornish pasties or bread puddings, and her pickled onions could blow your head off.
"Alice was always the life and soul of the party, she loved a good knees up, a gathering of friends and family, which in more recent years for her birthday, took place at the Barn Club in Marlow bottom. Everybody she knew was invited."
From her 12 children, Alice has been made a grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother, giving her an incredible 75 grandchildren to date The daughter of Lillian and William Stockley, she was one of seven children.
She was born and grew up in Southampton and started her working life in the National Service. During world war two. She worked in the factories rebuilding the wings for the Spitfires and as night warden ensuring everyone got in the air raid shelters safely.
It was during this time that she met the love of her life and future husband George Albert Wakefield.
They moved to Marlow as a couple in 1943, married in 1944, with the first of their twelve children (George) to arrive the following year. He was closely followed by Leslie, Barbara, Carol, Robin, Roy, Robert, Gerald, Peter, Shirley, Jeannie and Paul.
Alice was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago and broke her hip earlier this year.
"Alice showed her inner strength and put up a tremendous fight but sadly gave in on August 9 at her home in Berwick Road with her family by her side as she wished," her family said.
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