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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 3 January 2008

Maud Hillman
Home front heroine with a passion for singing and travelling

MAUD Hillman, who has died aged 94, will be fondly remembered by the hundreds of friends she made in a lifetime spent within two miles of her family home.
Maud lived in Highgate and Hampstead all her life. Her funeral service was at St Anne’s in Highgate West Hill – the church where her mother and father married in 1908, where she was baptised, and where she married her husband, Tom, in 1947.
Maud was born on January 13, 1913, the day Lloyd George’s National Health and Insurance Act of 1911 became law. It meant she was one of the first people in the UK to have a national insurance number. Her parents received 25 shillings as a child benefit payment.
Her father, Thomas King, was in the building trade. He and Maud’s mother, Georgina Pilkington, lived in Highgate Newtown. Maud attended St Anne’s School, at the bottom of Bertram Street on the site of what is now the community centre,
As a child, Maud was bedridden for two years following an accident and had to be pushed around on a trolley. Later, she recalled her mother’s shock, relayed to her as she lay in bed recovering, at seeing a German zeppelin fly above their home during World War I.
Maud became a Civil Defence warden during World War II. She worked as the supervisor for 120 employees of an aircraft and armament manufacturing company, a firm she had joined from school. It was originally owned by a German firm, and the managing director was interned during the war. Decisions about managing the company were passed to Maud and her co-workers from behind the walls of Wandsworth Prison. Her work during the war was honoured in 2005, when the efforts of women on the home front were formally acknowledged.
She would go on to work in insurance and then petrol refining and distribution before pursuing other interests in retirement.
She was a keen singer, and a member of the Mary Ward Singers – a recording she made with them was played as the last piece of music at her funeral. Her repertoire ranged from classical and jazz to the popular songs of her childhood.
She loved dance and keep fit, and was keen on crosswords, needlework, dressmaking and hat-making.
Maud was a keen traveller. In her 89th year she stayed at the British Army’s Commando Training School halfway up Ben Nevis in Scotland. She visited China in mid-winter and on November 14 last year she was on one of the first Eurostar trains to leave St Pancras for Paris – a week earlier she had volunteered to help test wheelchair access at the station and on trains.
At her funeral service, held over the Christmas period, mourners heard how sprightly Maud was until the end of her life. She had amazed technicians by wearing out the surgical shoes they gave her. Days before her death, medical staff at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead said they could not believe she was taking absolutely no medication. She is survived by her son, Lester.

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