An inspirational Jewish woman who lived through two world wars and claimed her secret to staying young was her daughter has died, aged 109.
Esther Sachon from Stanmore passed away on Saturday (February 11) at the Jewish Care's Princess Alexandra Home as the 34th oldest person in the country.
Her daughter Helena said she was devoted to her children, grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, all who loved to see her.
She said: "Now we celebrate her life, she never wanted a fuss over her birthdays but she deserved all the respect people are paying.
"Mum was phenomenal. She was an amazing lady and she never thought about herself, it was always about everyone else.
"She had a hard life as she was widowed in 1950 but she never complained and I’ve never had a cross word with her."
Esther was born on March 18 1907 during the Jewish holiday of Purim and her family decided to give her the Hebrew name Malka.
Growing up in Whitechapel, she recalled on her 109th birthday her neighbours owning a cow in Hessle Street before London became the urban jungle of today.
She met her husband Lois when out dancing at the Oxford and St George's Club at Henriques House in the East End when she was 17.
They were married when she was 20, when he was just a few years older than her and later moved to Stamford Hill, Hendon and Stanmore.
Together they had two sons, Peter and Michael, and a daughter, Helena, who was 5 when her father Louis, passed away in 1951, a devastating time for Esther.
But it only got harder after her two sons also passed away. Yet she kept busy later in life with her five grandchildren and 13 great granchildren.
Her job also helped her persevere through the harder times, as Esther worked in the textile business throughout her life as a leading sales person at the Wallis store in Oxford Street.
Helena explains what a great mother Esther has always been, working hard to look after her family after being widowed at a young age. "Mum started as a dressmaker and then after Dad died she had to work hard.
"She worked for Wallis for thirty years. She was a great cook, kept a great home, looked after us very well and only knew about doing things for other people.
"Mum always worked in fashion and didn’t retire until she was well into in her 70’s – and no one had a clue how old she was because she always looked so young."
When Esther reached her 109th birthday in 2016, Helena said, "Mum’s very particular about what she wears and takes great care over her appearance. She gets her nails and hair done at the home every week and she’s still so observant, she notices everything.
"If I’ve got a new scarf for example, she always comment on that and ask me about it."
Home manager, Elizabeth Mandeya said, "She was a lovely lady with a very good sense of humour, she was very alert and knew all the staff by name.
"She has seen so much in her lifetime and she was a remarkable living histories of the past century."
Helena’s husband, Lionel, who read the eulogy, added, “It was a real privilege to call her mum.”
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