Tribute to landlady and fundraising champion fondly remembered as 'Aylesbury's Peggy Mitchell'

Well known character was huge part of the community and will be sadly missed by all who knew her

By Olga Norford
Monday, 21st February 2022, 2:53 pm
Updated Monday, 21st February 2022, 8:10 pm

Tributes have been paid to former pub landlady and fundraising champion Sylvia Lumley who will be fondly remembered as the' Peggy Mitchell of Aylesbury' .

Sylvia, who used to run the Grand Tavern in Hale Leys and The Dog House (formerly Prince of Wales) in Broughton, died on February 11, aged 81.

Her granddaughter Jade Pinnock said: "She was a larger than life character, and so well known in the community, Aylesbury's Peggy Mitchell of the 70s.

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Former landlady Sylvia Lumley was a huge part of the community in Aylesbury

"She was just like the character from the TV soap EastEnders, a strong formidable lady. Everybody knew her as both a landlady and for her fundraising efforts for Stoke Mandeville Hospital after my mum was diagnosed with leukaemia back in the 80s."

In 1985, Sylvia's daughter Kim Pinnock, was a patient at the hospital battling cancer, however, she had no shower, bath or lavatory in her isolation ward and felt it was degrading and wanted to do something about it.

After Kim's appeal money began to pour in from people who had experienced life in the 'wooden spoon ward' and from the sale of bricks from Aylesbury Market.

In total, Kim's appeal, supported by her mother Sylvia, raised nearly £45,000 towards a new cancer unit. Later cubicles in the new leukemia ward which was the original 1X ward were named after Kim who died in 2020, aged 55, after losing her life to the disease.

Sylvia Lumley, second right, pictured with her son Peter, daughter Kim Pinnock and son-in-law Houghton

Jade added: "My mum Kim and grandmother Sylvia sold 'paper bricks' for £1 and raised £45,000 which was a lot of money back in 1985.

"The money helped to improve cancer care facilities at the hospital - in fact Stoke Mandeville was the first hospital in the country to have such a unit.

"It's a wonderful legacy."

Sylvia was born in London but grew up in Aylesbury after her parents moved to the town in the 60s. But it wasn't until she became the owner of the Grand Tavern, now a Boots store in Elmhurst, in 1972, that she made an impact on the community.

The Pinnock family - second from left is Kim with her husband Houghton left, her daughters Jade (pink dress) and Amber to her right and her grand-daughter Sienna at the front

Sylvia, who lived in Southcourt, ran the pub there for four years until taking over the Prince of Wales, now the Dog House, in Broughton. She spent many years running the pub and supporting the community in any way she could until eventually stepping down and moving to Majorca to enjoy an 'early retirement'.

However she returned to England some years later when given the devastating news that her daughter Kim had cancer. She continued to work in catering but devoted a lot of her time and energy in supporting the local community.

Jade, who set up the 'Anxious Aylesbury' Facebook group in 2020 to help people worried about coronavirus and in memory of her mother Kim, has described the shock of losing her grandmother.

She added: "We all thought she was invincible. She's had so many health scares in the past including lung cancer, kidney failure and two heart bypass operations. But she was always strong and seemed to battle her way through everything that was thrown at her.

"So her death has come as a huge shock. She was a huge part of the community for many years and will be greatly missed."

Sylvia's funeral will be held at Watermead Crematorium at 1.30pm on Wednesday, March 2, and then at her 'old pub' The Dog House.