Tributes paid to champion of older people's wellbeing

Emily Millington-Smith receives her MBE

Emily Millington-Smith receiving her MBE in 2011 - Credit: Archant

An advocate for the wellbeing of older people has died at home aged 98. 

Emily Millington-Smith, who was made an MBE, lived in North Tuddenham, near Dereham, for the last 40 years.  

Born in January 1922, in County Durham, she was the youngest of seven and has been described by her loved ones as the “family matriarch”.   

At 16, she trained as a nurse, a career that saw her work in various roles, including in the operating theatre surgical ward. This was just the start of a long journey spent educating herself in a variety of different interests.  

President Emily Millington-Smith chairing the 65th AGM of Age UK Norfolk. Photo: Bill Smith

Former president Emily Millington-Smith chairing the 65th AGM of Age UK Norfolk - Credit: Archant

After marrying her late husband, Charles, in 1957, she worked with him in the engineering business.  

Then, aged 50, she returned to college to study commercial catering, before obtaining a Le Cordon Bleu qualification, writing a 10-page essay on milling flour.  

In 1973, she worked for Essex County Council assisting care homes in trouble.  

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Then in 1978, she moved to Norfolk where she took up the role of matron at the new Ethel Tipple Court in Hellesdon.  

Since retiring in January 1987, she worked continuously in a voluntary capacity and was made an MBE in 2011.  

Former Norfolk Age UK president, Emily Millington-Smith, at an AGM at Mattishall in 2010

Former Norfolk Age UK president, Emily Millington-Smith, at an AGM at Mattishall in 2010 - Credit: Archant

She has been both president and vice-president of Age UK Norfolk, chair of Norfolk Alzheimer's for 20 years and trustee at caring organisations including The Carer's Forum, Norfolk Older Peoples Advocacy, Pabulum and Norfolk RCC, as well as being involved with many other groups supporting older people, relatives and carers.  

And her New Year’s Eve parties for older people were considered “legendary”.  

Stuart Tinkler, her great great nephew, described her as being “as sharp as a knife” and someone who enjoyed meeting others.

“She was an advocate for older people, despite never considering herself as old," he said. “She was also someone who could summarise a situation very quickly.  

“She was a fiercely private person and when asked what she enjoyed about life, she answered ‘I enjoy everything’.  

“She was just one of life’s characters who you could learn so much from.”  

Mrs Millington-Smith died on Friday, November 27.  

She was a much-loved aunt and great-aunt who will be missed by many both in Norfolk and in Tasmania, near Australia, where one of her step-daughters, Betty, lives with husband Gordon.   

A private service was held at Norwich Crematorium. There are plans for a service of thanksgiving to be held next summer.   

Donations are welcomed in lieu of flowers to The Children's Society via Allcock Family Funeral Services, Falcon House, 96a City Road, Norwich, NR1 2HD, by ringing 01603 766996 or online at

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