TRIBUTES have been paid to one of the Wye Valley’s oldest residents after her death at the age of 104.

Rhona Burston, who lived in her own home until the start of 2022, passed away a Ross Court on Sunday evening, January 8, having lived in Ross-on-Wye for 66 years.

She was a member of the St Mary’s Church congregation and was still attending services there last month.

The church posted a photo of her at December’s Christingle service and a spokesperson said last week: “It is with huge sadness that we have to report the death of the oldest member of St Mary’s congregation.

“Rhona Burston died on Sunday evening at Ross Court, aged 104.

“Rhona moved to Ross in 1957 with her husband Nick when they immediately became members of St Mary’s congregation and remained so until their deaths. We recently saw Rhona over Christmas, she is pictured here at the Christingle service earlier in December.

“Rhona was, in her time, the presiding member of the Mother’s Union in Ross as well as a member of the of the Parochial Church Council for many years.

“She helped regularly with cleaning and was, until quite recently, a server. She will be greatly missed.”

Rhona celebrated her 104th birthday last month, alongside her Ross Court neighbour and friend Phyllis Goddard, who was 105.

Born in Frome in Somerset, Rhona was a much loved only child to parents Elizabeth and Bert Adlam. As a child she was a keen Girl Guide and loved the family summer holidays to Weymouth.

When she left school at 16, she worked at local company Rawlings as secretary to the manager.

Aged 21, war was declared and Rhona played a key role working at the local reporting centre.

Her job was to count incoming enemy aircraft and calculate where they were heading, telegraphing played a vital role to warn targets.

“We got to meet people we would never have met including American soldiers and pilots, it was so interesting to hear about their lives and they bought us stockings!” she told the Gazette last year.

‘‘I worked long hours including nights, but I knew what I was doing was so important and I would always go home to a home cooked meal prepared by my mother.”

In 1947, Rhona married Nick a civil engineer and the couple moved to Cumbria, finally settling in Ross-On-Wye in 1957. They had two daughters Nicky and Sue and Rhona worked in the Ross-on-Wye Tourist Office and Dr Nicholson’s Surgery on Walford Road as a Medical Secretary.

Her love of the Girl Guides continued, including becoming the County Camp Advisor, still camping with the guides well into her 60s.

Rhona’s funeral is at St Mary’s Church, Ross-on-Wye, on Wednesday , February 1 at 2pm.