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Darley Abbey will be a "poorer place" following the death of a much-loved villager who will be remembered for the "thousands of sausage rolls" she handed out to neighbours and friends. In touching tributes to the late Maria Bullock, who died in April, friends and family have fondly remembered her passion for helping others, and handing out food at every opportunity. According to her daughter Julie Walters, the year-old made "thousands of mince pies and sausage rolls" over her time in Derby, which she gave to everyone she met - including bus drivers.
Julie, 55, added: "Mum's cooking was the talk of anyone who had the pleasure to meet her. Like many traditional families, as soon as you walked through her front door, a drink was being made and cooking started. Born in Iraq in in "a very small village set amongst the mountains", Julie described her mother's upbringing as "tough" but founded on traditional family values.
Both of Maria's parents died before she reached adolescence and as such she became responsible for feeding and cleaning for her remaining brothers and sisters. You can get the latest Derbyshire Live headlines straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter. Every day we'll send you our top stories, plus breaking news alerts as they happen, in a completely free with no. To up just head to this and select "Derbyshire Live news" - or into the black box at the top of this story.
The retail worker said her parents fell in love at first sight and, although her dad had to return to his home in England, he vowed to go back to Iraq and marry the love of his life. Julie added: "Which of course he did, about three years later. I don't think her idea was to have five children, but their love ensured that.
Over the many years of their marriage, Julie said her parents travelled all over the globe with the RAF, living in places such as Cyprus, Nairobi and Singapore among others. Julie added: "She would talk about the different characters around Derby that frequented the billiard hall and their misdemeanours, but she always treated them as if they were her own children and would be regularly telling them to get their lives together and Love in darley abbey them off. It was when the couple moved to their Darley Abbey home - where they stayed for the rest of their lives - that Maria became Love in darley abbey "essential part" of her local community.
Julie said: "Mum would be seen over the years gardening for people who were too busy at work or too old to do their own gardens. Often neighbours would come home to new plants, hanging baskets and tidied gardens. The mother of five died after a sudden bout of pneumonia which "took the family by surprise" and left a "huge hole" in the Darley Abbey community. The Derby grandmother had also been diagnosed with lung cancer in but her daughter said her mother was "determined to ignore it". One of Maria's good friends and Darley Abbey resident, Paul Amott, said he remembered how Maria would "stop buses in Darley Abbey" to give the drivers a sausage roll.
A well-known character in the village, Paul said his friend could be found on a Saturday night, socialising down the pub and "always looking smart, but always having fun". Paul, 57, added: "There's so many stories about Maria, the last thing she ever said to me, three days before she died, was 'you make sure you water your plants'.
Even on a trip to Mallorca, Paul said his friend didn't fail to bring snacks along by stashing three, foot-long bacon sandwiches in her handbag to feed her friends on the journey. Paul added: "God knows how she got that on the plane, but that was typical Maria, she was the life and soul of anywhere she went.
A real character. To honour her memory, Paul and a group of Maria's friends hope to hold a memorial day for her on October 17, at the Paper Mill in Darley Abbey. The group plans to host an auction or raffle to raise money for Maria's favourite charities, as it would have been her 85th birthday a few days later. By Noah Martin. Subscribe today to get the latest headlines straight to your inbox with our free updates Invalid Something went wrong, please try again later.
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