A WOMAN affectionately known in Hayes as Mrs Christmas has lost her year-long battle with cancer.
Androulla Vafiadis, 50, of Wood End Green Road, died peacefully last Monday at Hayes Cottage Nursing Home, in Grange Road.
The eldest of four children, Mrs Vafiadis is survived by her husband of 16 years, Seth, and their 12-year-old daughter, Sophia.
The family became local celebrities after being featured in the Gazette, as well as on national television, for creating dazzling festive displays to raise thousands of pounds for charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Mr Vafiadis, a station supervisor for London Underground, said of his wife, who was a hairdresser: "She never did anything half-heartedly and she loved Christmas - often we had more than 5,000 lights on the house. This year, the lights will be put up in her memory.
"We were very good friends for about six months before she asked me out. Androulla was beautiful but had a brilliant brain to go with it and we were so in tune with each other. Within a few months, I asked her to marry me.
"My fondest memories include our wedding, the birth of Sophia and a family trip to EuroDisney, which Androulla absolutely adored.
"Life has dealt us a few blows. Our son, Andreas, died in 1995, and my cousin, Paris, also lost his wife, Joanne, to cancer - but Androulla was always positive, even at the end.
"She told me Sophia was her best friend but I was her soulmate - and that she was going to take Andreas to visit Michael Jackson, who she was a big fan of, in heaven.
"I would like to say a big thank you to Hayes Cottage, the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre and Michael Sobell House for all their help and support."
Sophia, a pupil at Uxbridge High, added: "I will always love my mum and never forget her. At the moment I am just trying to be strong for my dad."
More than 150 people have joined a Facebook group, In Memory of Androulla Vafiadis, with family and friends posting tributes on the social networking site.
Tina Wright said: "Androulla fought her illness so bravely and unselfishly and still had a wicked sense of humour right until the end. She had a larger-than-life personality with a large heart to go with with it."
Mrs Vafiadis' funeral will be held at St Nicholas Church, in Shepherd's Bush, at 11.30am next Monday, March 8, followed by a burial at Greenford Park Cemetery, in Greenford.
As one of her last wishes, Mrs Vafiadis requested a dress code of black and gold, her favourite colours. * Anyone wishing to pay their respects has been asked to make a donation to the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre and Michael Sobell House, both based at Mount Vernon Hospital, in Northwood.