'Squirrel lady' dies

PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:53 10 June 2010

ONE of Exmouth's most loved and well known residents, the 'squirrel lady', Diana Lendon, has died at the age of 87. Diana, of Exeter Road, gained her nickname from being seen regularly walking to Manor Gardens with her trusty walking stick in-hand and ba

ONE of Exmouth's most loved and well known residents, the 'squirrel lady', Diana Lendon, has died at the age of 87.Diana, of Exeter Road, gained her nickname from being seen regularly walking to Manor Gardens with her trusty walking stick in-hand and basket, suitably filled to the brim with an assortment of nuts for her furry friends.She would often call out to the squirrels and they would hop over to her and either take the nuts out of her basket or - if they were feeling brave - out of her hand.Born on a farm in Hampshire in 1921 she loved animals all her life. She joined the Women's Air Force in 1939 and was stationed in Blackpool where she rose to the rank of sergeant and according to her friend Ken Bradbury it was there that she said 'she had a grand time'.She married an RAF officer and after the war they ran several pubs together in Devon, including one at Lyme Regis and the Two Tonnes at Barnstaple.They moved to Exmouth, Exeter Road, in 1982, where sadly her husband died in 2002.After recently suffering two broken hips she was treated at Exmouth Hospital and spent the last few weeks of her life at the Amber Wood Care Home, Exeter Road."They looked after her well although she hated hospitals - she always preferred to be outside," said Ken."In the summer months she was always in Manor Gardens, and she used to teach the children how to feed the squirrels, while the parents took photos."She was very popular - there must be a great many holidaymakers around the country that she gave nuts to so that they could be filmed feeding the gardens' squirrels."She was a very lovely lady, we had lots in common. "We both loved animals and always had lots to talk about and she was a good friend - sadly Exmouth has lost one of its squirrel ladies."Her one surviving relative is a nephew, Michael Scott, who lives in Kent.

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