Crawley new town 'pioneer' Eileen Stone dies aged 92

Crawley new town 'pioneer' Eileen Stone has died aged 92. Here, son Alan pays tribute to her.

One of the early pioneers who came to live in Crawley when the new town was first built has died aged 92.

Eileen Stone moved to Crawley in 1953 as a newlywed with husband Fred. They were among the first people to occupy council houses in Mitchell’s Road, Three Bridges – and later owned the first car in the street. Both were born in central London and grew up in Morden on the city’s Surrey fringes.

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Eileen initially worked on Crawley industrial estate, at companies including Youngman’s Ladders and Beecham’s Pharmaceuticals.

Crawley new town 'pioneer' Eileen Stone has died aged 92. Picture courtesy of Alan Stone

In 1963 the couple moved with three young sons to Brantridge Road in Furnace Green. Eileen became a dinner lady at nearby Robert May Infants School. In later years she was an usher at the Hawth Theatre.

Her voluntary work included a patients’ tea trolley round at Crawley Hospital and taking disabled children to school.

Fred was well-known locally, running Stone’s Driving School from 1972 to the early 1990s. He died in 2018.

The family were regulars at Crawley Swimming Club and Crawley Mariners Yacht Club in the early days. On her 70th birthday in 1998, Eileen swam 70 lengths of the old Crawley pool in just over an hour to raise money for Cancer Research.

In recent years she was looked after at Ifield Park Care Home.

She leaves sons Graham, Alan and David, grandsons Lloyd and Graham and a great-grandson Albie, born this year.

Alan said: "People like Eileen and Fred were pioneers who helped establish Crawley as a new town and are part of its history. They escaped crowded, smoggy London for a new life in leafy, spacious Crawley – and they loved it.

"Eileen was a humble, kind and humorous person who made lots of friends in Crawley over the years. We thank her for everything and will miss her forever."

Eileen’s funeral is at Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Balcombe Road on Thursday, December 16 at 12.30pm.

All are welcome. The family will not accept flowers but will take donations to British Heart Foundation.