Bridget Biddlecombe, née Lake, who has died aged 65 following a period of illness, grew up on the Island, with her two brothers and two sisters, and joined the Education Department at County Hall, after leaving school.
She left County Hall to become the secretary at Lake Middle School, and remained at the school until its closure under the Island’s school re-organisation.
Bridget met her husband, Paul, at school and they got married in 1977, and their son, Mark was born in 1987.
From the 1970s, with Paul, Bridget was increasingly active as a leader at Shanklin Voluntary Youth and Community Centre (VYCC), helping set up a group system for the 1,000 members the club had at the time, as well as organising events like the annual ‘Fly By Night’. She was also involved with the local Scout Group.
In 1996, Bridget spearheaded the renovation of Shanklin VYCC which had been ravaged by rising damp and dry rot, and she co-ordinated a massive community effort which harnessed the energy of the local volunteers with sponsored discos, community fairs and charitable donations. Her hard work saw the centre re-establish itself as the place where youngsters in Sandown Bay wanted to go at weekends, with almost 400 children attending one evening.
The Centre achieved the 4Children National Centre of the Year Award, received the the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, with Bridget (and Paul) receiving the British Citizenship Award, as well as the Shahida Nehorai award for her outstanding contribution to helping children and young people.
Bridget also helped out at Fairway Sports Centre, was active with Shanklin Green Towns and Shanklin Carnival, and supported countless local projects and initiatives – such as the floral display at Shanklin Railway Station.
A service, under Covid-r19 guidance, is being held on Wednesday, January 6 at the Island’s Crematorium officiated by Rev Brian Harley. It will be preceded by a cortege that passes the youth centre at noon, with a celebration of Bridget’s life being held later in the year.
Bridget is survived by her husband Paul, son Mark, her brother Roger, sister Christine, and all her extended family at the youth centre.