Entrepreneurial guest house owner dies aged 79

Entrepreneurial guest house owner dies aged 79

Lucy Golding

Entrepreneurial guest house owner dies aged 79

A Maidenhead guest house owner adored for her warm hospitality and sense of humour has died three months before her 80th birthday.

Described as a 'great entrepreneur who loved meeting people,' Sheila Pickering, who ran The Lawn Guest House in Boyn Hill Avenue, passed away on Friday, January 17, after a long illness.

The Irish Catholic grandmother-of-five moved to Maidenhead with her husband Lenny and four sons in 1974.

Lenny ran his King Street electrical imports business LJ Pickering, where Shelia helped out with secretarial duties. In 1977 she bought the Lawn Guest House where she lived and worked almost up until her death.

Her son Conor said: "We always said the guest house was her fifth child. It was her other love." 

"She really loved looking after people, that gave her the thrill, to give a good service."

"Even when she was ill she was still working."

Lenny died in 1989 and Sheila continued to manage the 18-room bed and breakfast single-handedly, getting up at the crack of dawn to prepare breakfast for the guests who often came from all over the world.

Her funeral at St Joseph's Church in Cookham Road on Monday  was attended by more than 100 people, including taxi drivers and other guest house owners she befriended over the years.

Conor added: "She was so widely loved in the town."

"She couldn't go in a shop or walk through town without someone wanting to talk to her ."

As a young woman Sheila worked at high-end fashion boutique in Dublin named Madame Nora and moved to London in the early 1950s.

She was an avid supporter of various charities, in particular forces charities such as Troops Relief and Help for Heroes.

As she got older Sheila's greatest pleasure was spending time with her five grandchildren.

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