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Rose lived to 90 despite her lung damage

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 26, 2012

  • Rose with daughter Rose Bailey

  • FULL OF LIFE: Rose Matilda Clarke celebrating her 90th birthday.

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THE family of a "hardworking" woman who died from an industrial disease said she had a "larger-than-life character" with a "real zest for life".

Rose Matilda Clarke of Trerice Drive, Newquay, died at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro on April 28, aged 90.

An inquest in Truro on Wednesday found the cause of death was pneumonia due to asbestosis.

Described as a "dancing queen", Rose was born in Bromley-by-Bow, east London, on January 6, 1922, and lived independently until her death.

Her early years were challenging, with little money. The youngest child, she had three brothers, John, Bill and George, and two sisters, Phoebe and May.

All helped put food on the table – and even as a little girl, her family said, Rose was a hard grafter and a "tough cookie" who missed periods of schooling to go fruit-picking to earn money for her mother.

She married George Clarke in November 1941 and they were together for 59 years before he died in 2000.

Daughter Rose Bailey said her husband was "the love of her life" and Rose "never went a day without missing him".

Rose shared George's love of Cornwall and they made the move in 1963, eventually settling in Newquay. George wanted to move nearer to their daughter and family due to his failing health.

In a eulogy, Mrs Bailey wrote: "Mum had a good and a varied life.

"In the short time we have here today, we can barely scratch the surface of this very special and unique lady whom we have had the privilege to know."

Rose leaves two children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

She enjoyed TV programme Benidorm; she and her husband regularly visited the Spanish resort after their retirement.

In a letter Rose herself wrote following her 90th birthday, she recalled the fun they had there, and of course the dancing.

She wrote: "Nowadays I would be too tired to do it – but I'd have a go; I just couldn't sit there. I'd have to get up and have a dance … even if I couldn't breathe."

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