One of Eastbourne’s popular characters and long-serving employee at the restaurant in Debenhams has died.
Anne Mannion, known as Irish Annie and Little Annie, was found dead at her home in Pevensey Road last week. She was 64.
A service was held at Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Church on Tuesday and she was flown home to her native Ireland on Wednesday for a funeral service in Galway.
Annie first came to Eastbourne on holiday when she was in her 20s.
She did not return to Ireland at the end of her holiday and after working behind the bar at the former Cheviot pub in Seaside Road, she worked in the restaurant in the town centre store for more than 35 years.
It was her close friend and restaurant manager Richard Empy who found her after she failed to turn up for her shift at 11am.
Best friend Pearl Broderick said Annie, a regular at many pubs in the town and bookmakers, was a stickler for time and always turned up for work at 10.45am. When she failed to show manager Richard Empy called at her home and discovered her body.
“The last time we saw her she was at work, fit as a fiddle and happy as Larry,” said Pearl, who worked with Annie at the restaurant.
“She was never late for work, we just knew there was something wrong. It has been such a shock. “Annie made time for everyone, she was always smiling, a very caring person who would do anything for anyone.”
Friend Pat Owens said Annie was a popular character who would be missed. “So sudden and so sad,” said Pat, “she was a legend.”
The week before her death she had been celebrating St Patrick’s Day with friends in the Workingmen’s Club and Langleys, the old Bourne Inn.