Blackfriars Settlement pays tribute to Barbara East

Barbara East, known to the present generation as receptionist and welcome face at Blackfriars Settlement, has died at the age of 81.

She had lived until recently in the historic Nelson Square building since 1958 when her husband answered an advertisement for "a responsible tenant, not a caretaker".

Barbara became the cleaner and housekeeper and later added the reception duties. She welcomed thousands of people to the Settlement.

'Barbara East's Lunches' were well-known in the 1960s and she was a familiar figure in The Cut. More recently she sat at the front desk at the Settlement building in Joan Street and earlier this year she presided at the reception at the present address in Rushworth Street.

A statement issued by the Settlement says its community is very sad to announce the death of Barbara East.

"We knew her as a diligent and faithful worker, whose high standards were a credit to her and to the Settlement as a whole.

"We knew her as a loyal member of staff, always giving above and beyond the call of duty, and patiently dealing with all the changes and uncertainties which have been the Settlement's existence.

"Above all, we knew her as a lovely human being, whose cheerful disposition cheered us all up, and whose friendship we valued enormously. Barbara, we miss you!"

The funeral at Eltham Crematorium was conducted by Canon Peter Challen, a former Chair of the Settlement.

The family requested that no flowers be sent but instead that donations be made to the hospice where Barbara East was so well looked after in her last days. These can be sent to the Settlement in Rushworth Street where there is also a book of remembrance open for signatures until Christmas.

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