Fitting send off for an amazing Norwich woman and author of The 17th Child

The funeral of a Norwich woman who survived two wars and wrote a book about growing up in Norwich in the first half of the 20th century took place yesterday, in fitting style.

A white hearse pulled by white horses, right, carried the body of 97-year-old Ethel Eva George, whose love of sparkle and singing was matched only by her passion for justice and selfless nature.

Born on Barrack Street, Mousehold, in 1914, Mrs George, pictured, was her parent's 17th child, which is where she takes the name of her book, The 17th Child, still on sale in Jarrolds.

She died on December 17, after suffering a stroke. Her family and friends remember her as a woman who liked her house clean and sparkling, never turned anyone away, gave when she had little to give and surprised with her singing voice.

Her daughter, Pamela Villarini, who now lives in Puerto Rico, said: 'She was a person who had nothing for herself, all her life working and giving.

'Many times she used to work and then on lunch break she'd go and clean an old lady's house or do a blind lady's shopping.

'She never spoke badly of anybody, she only got angry if something was an injustice.'

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Every year Mrs George and her husband Albert, who died two years ago, travelled to Potters Holiday Camp at Hopton on Sea, where Mrs George would take to the stage. Mrs George has 20 grandchildren, who came from Utah, New York and New Jersey in America, Puerto Rico and London for the funeral. Grandaughter Katie Kankanamge, a 26-year-old nurse from Costessey, said: 'She wasn't materialistic, but not a day would go by when she wasn't sparkly. Even in hospital she wore make-up and jewellery. The white hearse and the horses is her all over, she wouldn't have had anything less.

A full tribute including heartwarming tales of Mrs George's altruism will follow in tomorrow's Evening News.

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