A centenarian who introduced television shows on Channel 4 earlier this year to mark 100 years of women getting the right to vote has passed away, weeks after turning 101, writes Jack Mendel,
Millie Finger, born Millie Walvish on 30 March 1917, was a regular at Jewish Care’s Brenner Centre in Stepney – where she rekindled a bond with childhood friend and fellow 100-year-old with Beattie Orwell.
In February, they became familiar voices when they turned into TV presenters introducing shows such as Countdown and Hollyoaks.
“‘She was like our mother.’ That is what many members of the Stepney staff team said to me this morning before we all went to her funeral,” said Jamie Field, Jewish Care’s East London locality manager.
“She really endeared herself to everyone she met but particularly those of us who were lucky enough to spend every day with her.”
Millie was twice widowed, and tragically lost both her only daughter Hilary and only grandson Daniel, who died aged 10.
“She didn’t have an easy life, but you wouldn’t know it speaking to her. Everyone genuinely loved her and never had a bad word to say about her,” added Field.
Millie called Jewish Care, and the Brenner Centre, her lifeline, which she described to Jewish News in February as giving her “a reason to live”.
After Millie’s daughter died a few years ago, she was left with only her niece and nephew.
During the eulogy at her funeral at East Ham Jewish Cemetery, her niece Sandra Valentine Boyd spoke of Millie’s fondness for Jewish Care’s staff. She said Millie “regarded you all as her friends”, and “she thought the world of you and loved being with you.
“Millie’s days were spent at the club, gossiping, making plans and putting the world to rights. Her evenings were spent planning her outfits for the following day. She would often call me, saying ‘will the pink sweater go with the grey trousers, or did I wear that a few days ago?’ because, of course, she couldn’t wear the same outfit twice in one week.”