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Unsung Hero: Pillar of church hangs up mop after 15 years
A Fairy Liquid-loving woman who spent 15 years cleaning a church hall has finally hung up her mop and brush.
Audrey Eldridge, 77, of Villiers Close in Surbiton, dedicated at least an hour a week dusting and scrubbing the St Andrew and St Mark parish hall before it was refurbished and expanded last year.
But Mrs Eldridge had to pack up her bag of cleaning goodies once and for all after the church hall became too big for her to clean.
She said: “The new church hall is far too big for me to clean alone now – I could not manage.
“Lots of people don’t like cleaning but I do. I just enjoy it. It’s one of my hobbies. My house is the same. I listen to anything on Classic FM.
“My mum brought me up to clean my own bedroom – I can’t understand why children nowadays don’t like doing it.”
The regular churchgoer said she had she has continued to lend a hand by taking on welcoming duties and handing parish members a hymn book on arrival every Sunday.
She said: “I like singing – Love Divine is my favourite hymn. I love organ music too.”
Mrs Eldridge previously worked for the Ministry of Defence doing clerical work before she retired and was given a British Empire Medal – although she said she could not reveal what this was for.
The former church cleaner said she enjoyed reading Hello magazine – often sharing it with her friend and watching the soap Emmerdale in her spare time.
On being nominated an unsung hero, she said: “I’m just shocked. I’ve never had anything like this before.”
Fellow churchgoer Alex Ritson said: “She has been an absolute pillar at St Mark’s church for 15 years. She has bent over backwards for the church.”
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