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Neighbours’ tributes to pensioner who died after flat blaze

Popular 78-year-old ‘loved where she lived’

05 March, 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Janet Budd died after a fire in her first-floor flat in Drayton Park

TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular “multi-talented” pensioner who died in hospital five days after a fire at her flat.

Family members said Janet Budd, 78, who passed away last Wednesday, was always “smiling and laughing”.

The London Fire Brigade is investigating the cause of the blaze at the first-floor flat in Bryantwood Road, Drayton Park, but police say it is not being treated as suspicious and is thought to have been started by a discarded cigarette.

Although she was born in Cornwall, Ms Budd had lived in the flat since 1990.

Her sister, Carole Budd, who lives in Ireland, said: “She loved where she lived.

Ms Budd in her younger days

“She was a cultured, interesting woman. She had a very interesting life. Janet had always been a person who had decided she wasn’t going to have a conventional life. She was always smiling and laughing.”

Ms Budd was talented in drawing and painting. She also enjoyed tap dancing and singing at the Claremont Project in White Lion Street.

She also attended lectures with the University of the Third Age. And she could often be found sitting with a coffee outside the Amici Coffee Deli in Holloway Road having a chat with the staff.

Before retiring she worked in various jobs including as a secretary at an advertising agency in Mayfair and as a photographer’s assistant. She had lived in Chelsea before moving to Islington.

Carole thanked her sister’s neighbour, Sophie, who was first to respond to the fire on February 19.

Ms Budd with her sister Carole

Sophie, who has asked the Tribune not to use her surname, said: “To me and my partner, Janet was always nice and smiley. We used to help her out if she needed it, go to the shop for her and buy her milk. She was always very thankful and grateful of the help me, my partner and the neighbours in the top flat gave her across the past year.”

Janet had a cat, called Beauty, who neighbours got to know fondly when she let her out the front of the house to explore.

Firefighters were called out to the blaze at the three-storey terrace shortly after 9am.

A spokesperson for the Clarion housing association, which manages the block in which Ms Budd lived, said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of our resident and our thoughts are with the family and friends.

Ms Budd’s painting of her cat, Beauty

“A technical surveyor has inspected the property following the fire and has confirmed it is safe.

“Another specialist contractor has visited the building and confirmed the smoke and heat detection systems in the property are working exactly as they should and are fully operational.”

They added: “We are working closely with the London Fire Brigade, who carried out a full fire investigation.

“At this stage the suspected cause of the fire is accidental and caused by a discarded cigarette or ­other smoking material.”

A coroner’s inquest is expected to review the details of the fire.

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We sent three ambulance crews, an incident res­ponse officer, and our hazardous area response team. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance. We treated two people at the scene and took one of them to hospital.”


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