Tributes have poured in for a much-loved dinner lady who was always out and about in Ashton-under-Lyne with her pet Pomeranian. Anna Dixon, 86, passed away peacefully on April 8.
She was a familiar face in the Tameside community, popping out on her mobility scooter with her adorable pooch Toby in the basket. Born in Forres in Scotland to a large Italian family, Anna was one of nine children.
In her early 20s, after getting married, she moved to Ashton-under-Lyne and later welcomed children Stephen, Michael and Adele.
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She also has a granddaughter called Ashley. Ashton-under-Lyne was Anna’s home for 60 years. For a number of years, Anna was a dinner lady at St Peter’s CE Primary School, where she was adored by students.
Anna’s daughter Adele Dixon Thomas, 56, who lives in Australia, spoke to the Manchester Evening News about the impact her late mum had on her family and the community.
She said: “My mum was loving, strong and independent. She was really caring and fun. Everybody knew her because she put her little dog, Toby, in the basket of the front of her mobility scooter when she went shopping in Ashton.
“It would take three hours longer to do the shopping, becauseeverybody stopped and chatted to her! She was always up for a natter, especially if it revolved around her dog, Toby.
“Toby is blind and diabetic, so that gets even more attention from people. My mum and the dog go hand in hand.
” She liked living inAshton-under-Lyne. It was her home from her.
“She was comfortable here. She loved gardening and was always in the garden.
“Up until the end, she was going about her business, and her passing was very sudden.
” She went into hospital on Thursday night and passed away 6pm on Friday, peacefully and quickly.
“Aside from the mobility scooter, she was otherwise really healthy for her age. She looked amazing.
“That’s why it’s been such a shock to people- I don’t think they realized she was 86.”
Adele shared how important her mother’s Italian heritage was to her.
She added: “She loved telling us stories about her childhood in Scotland. She also loved cooking.
“She used to handmake spaghetti for us when we were younger and she would cook pasta and recipes that were passed down from her mother.
“After the war, my grandfather in Forres, he set up an ice creamery up there, making ice cream. He was very well known up there, so everybody knew her family of her.
“The company, Miele’s ice creams, is still going today, it was passed down to the cousins.”
Adele said she was moved when she saw tributes pour in for her late mum from friends, neighbors and the community.
She added: ” It’s really emotional and overwhelming, seeing the tributes on Facebook. It’s a beautiful thing and I hope that my mum realized how many people’s day that she brightened up, and how many people thought so much of her.
“She would be thrilled and really touched to know that she left a little mark.”
Paying tribute is Azmat Zaman, 50, from Ashton-under-Lyne, who has fond memories of having Anna as a dinner lady in the late 1970s and early 1980s at St Peter’s primary school.
She said: ” mrs dixon was such a warm and loving person, always greeted us with a smile when we went up for food.
“I remember after dinner time, she used to come on the playground and she would hold our hands, or we would link onto her and she would walk around and chit chat to all the children.
“That was a really nice time we had with her. She was really well known and well liked in the community.
“I always saw her around the town centre, with her buggy with her little dog in the basket. S he would always make time to stop and speak to people- that was the kind of person that she was.”
Azmat added that Anna got along really well with her family.
She continued: “I introduced my daughters to Miss Dixon and they were really overwhelmed to meet her, and they would always stroke her dog, who was really friendly.
“It’s going to be really different, not seeing her around Ashton any more. Our thoughts are with Mrs Dixon’s family during this sad time.”
Also paying tribute is Clair Chapman, 51, from Ashton-under-Lyne, who called Anna “the best dinner lady that St Peter’s School has ever had”.
She said: “Mrs Dixon was such a lovely lady, so understanding, bubby and funny, just ticked all the boxes. You couldn’t have met a nicer woman.
“I was about eight or nine when I got to know her. I am hard of hearing, so people used to take the mickey out of the way I talk.
“Mrs Dixon took me under her wing and looked after me. Even when I left school, and I saw her around, she always stopped to talk to me and ask me how I’m doing.”
Clair shared a sweet anecdote that she remembers when Anna was her dinner lady.
She added: “There was a dinner lady once who got a hold of my brother and tried to force meat down him. And Mrs Dixon intervened and said ‘you shouldn’t force feed a child, because you can put them off food.’
“And it actually put my brother off food for a bit, he just had to eat Weetabix. Whereas, Mrs Dixon wouldn’t force anything on you.
“If I didn’t eat my food, she’d say ‘tell me why you don’t like that’ and she’d make the food into a funny face and things like that.
“She just went out of her for you. She always put the children before herself.”
The funeral will be held on Wednesday, April 27 3.30pm at Dukinfield Crematorium on Hall Green Road, Dukinfield, SK16 4EP.
Any flowers can be sent to AF White Funeral Services, 3 Albion Estate, Mossley Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6NQ.
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