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Tributes paid to celebrated Hoxton florist Alice Books

PUBLISHED: 18:02 14 June 2013 | UPDATED: 18:02 14 June 2013

Florist Alice Brooks (second right) passed away at the age of 95 at the end of May

Florist Alice Brooks (second right) passed away at the age of 95 at the end of May

Archant

Nearly a hundred friends and family members attended the funeral of a Hoxton stalwart at St Anne’s Church last Friday.

Alice Brooks, whose name is immortalised in the A. Brooks florist shop in Hoxton Street, passed away on May 27 from a heart attack.

The florist, who was born in 1919, died aged 95-years-old at Harts House Nursing Home in Woodford Green, Essex.

Her son Mark Brooks, 63, who inherited the family business and runs a flower stall at Hoxton Street market paid tribute to his mum.

He said: “My mum was very hard-working and very conscientious. Like most of her generation, she worked right up until she was 80.

“I only remember her in bed once with oyster poisoning when I was a kid.

“She was a serious sort of person. She taught me to be straight. She used to say ‘If anyone offers you something that’s too good, it’s a lie. That’s for the needy and the greedy and I’m neither’. She kept me out of bother all my life.”

He admitted some of his fondest memories of his mum were watching the BBC rock-and-roll series Six-Five Special together in the 1950s when he was young. He said: “We would get the fire on and get the sweets out. I remember her always giving me cuddles now and again.”

Ms Brooks attended Burbage Primary School in Ivy Street in Hoxton until she was 13.

“My mum had a really bad stutter and she was dyslexic, so my grandfather bought her a flower shop at the age of 13”, he said. “Within a year, her stutter had gone.”

He said that the former owner of the flower shop stayed on for six months to teach his mum the ropes, but she mainly taught herself to be a florist.

She also worked all the way through the war despite facing challenges with importing flowers. Mr Brooks said: “They used to work with paper and wax flowers through the war.

“The shop was known for its wreaths with tulips. Wreath trade was the most popular.”

He said he believed the reason his mum was so successful and well-known was because she “gave value for money”. “You can’t live somewhere like Hoxton without giving value for money”, he added.

She married Felix Camoccio in 1942. She had met him during the war in Hemel Hempstead where her father had bought a house during the Blitz.

She was buried at the City of London cemetery beside her husband who died in 1982 at the age of 68.

She is survived by her two children Mark Brooks and Antoinette (Toni) Castro, 67, four-grand-children and four great-grandchildren.


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