Tributes to Redbridge business champion Julie Woodward

The woman whose “glass was always half full” and who has left a lasting legacy in Redbridge was paid tribute to at a celebration of her life on Tuesday.

Members of the business community were joined by friends and family of Julie Woodward at the celebration led by celebrant Mary Morris to hear some surprising things about the Redbridge Chamber of Commerce chairman who died suddenly aged 74 last month.

Her brother Edward Murphy revealed how Julie had been a junior Irish ladies tennis champion, along with having a “fantastic interest in sport”.

Mr Murphy, who had travelled from his home in west Cork, Ireland to be at the event held at the Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford, told those gathered: “If Julie had a fulfilled and happy, organised life, it was due to all of you people here and others not here.”

Chamber colleague Mike Crocker spoke fondly of former magistrate Julie saying: “Whatever happened Julie saw that her glass was always half full rather than half empty.

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“We will miss her wisdom, calm encouragement and her smile.”

Victim Support Redbridge chairman Jan Scott praised Julie’s work with the group. “Victim Support was all the richer for having her as a valued friend,” she said.

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Her role as governor of Grove Primary School, Chadwell Heath, was spoken of by chairman of governors Arthur Leggatt, who said her commitment to the school was “total”.

Speaking on behalf of Redbridge Council Cllr Thomas Chan said: “I would like and hope that Julie will continue to be our guardian angel in the borough.”

Poems were read by Julie’s daughter Nicola and chamber colleague and good friend Linda Porter.

Julie’s widower Ray thanked people for coming and said. “Little did I know that the little, naive girl I married 53 years ago was to become one of the stalwart women of the borough.”

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