Tributes paid to ‘pillar of the community’

Tributes have been paid to a Milden woman, described as a “pillar of the community”, who died after falling into a cesspit in her garden.

Patricia Barden drowned after accidentally falling into the manhole at her home in Boxford Road in July, an inquest on Thursday heard.

Mrs Barden’s step-granddaughter, Charlotte Rush, who lives in Kent, said: “My beloved nan, Patricia, was the best nan in the world.

“She lived her life to the full and we are all extremely sad that she is no longer with us.”

Miss Rush, 30, added: “She had lived in the area for 26 years and was an active part of the local community, often helping to raise money for the church and other good local causes.”

Friends of Mrs Barden said she had held numerous fundraisers for St Peter’s Church in the village at her home including coffee mornings, bazaars and other activities, and said she was an “articulate” and “well-presented” person who valued her privacy.

She had lived alone since 1994 when her husband Charles, known as Mick, died.

Richard Harding, 27, from Boxford Road, said Mrs Barden used to give him and Miss Rush a lift to school when he was younger.

“She was a member of the community and was always at all the village’s events and fairs,” said Mr Harding.

“She always had a smile on her face and was always there for you and always kind – she was an upstanding pillar of the community.”

See page 9 for a report of the inquest into Mrs Barden’s death.