Former North Star landlady dies at the age of 81

Former North Star landlady dies at the age of 81

Simon Meechan

Former North Star landlady dies at the age of 81

A much-loved landlady who ran a Maidenhead pub for nearly 40 years has died at the age of 81.

Desmond and Deirdre ran the North Star for four decades

Deirdre Rooke ran the North Star Pub, Westborough Road, with her husband Desmond between 1956 and 1994.

The couple moved to the pub from Newcastle upon Tyne, where they met at a tennis club.

Originally from Minster, Kent, Deirdre had moved to the North-east as a child when her civil engineer father took a shipbuilding job.

She met Desmond, originally from Kendal, Cumbria, when she was 19 and he was in his twenties. The pair fell in love, married and had a son, Russell.

When Russell was a toddler the family moved to Maidenhead and made their family home at the North Star.

Russell says his parents loved running the bar during the golden age of British pubs.

"They were well known in Maidenhead. People used to say it was like going into your own front room," said the pilot, 61.

"There was always someone you knew and a fire blazing.

"It was a very happy community pub. They had a large collection of friends from all ages - from teenagers to people in their seventies."

The couple sold the pub in 1994 and retired to a bungalow in Finchampstead.

"She was a really busy landlady," added Russell.

"It was her life. She had a wide circle of friends and was a very sociable woman.

"She missed it when she retired."

After Desmond died in 2005 Deirdre kept active, twice visiting China to meet the parents of Russell's wife.

Three years ago she became a great-grandmother when her granddaughter Sarah, 31, gave birth to Oliver.

Her second great-grandson was born four months ago.

She passed away at Foxleigh Grove Nursing Home in Windsor on November 27.

Deirdre's funeral takes place at All Saints Church in Church Close, Maidenhead, on Friday at 12.30pm.

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