Hundreds attend funeral of nurse killed in crash
Mum-of-two was passenger in collision at notorious junction
Around 700 people turned out to pay their respects to a talented nurse killed in a three-car crash on a notorious stretch of road.
Mother-of-two Mildred Matete Hlabi, 43, was a passenger in a car travelling to a wake in Tunbridge Wells when it collided with a van at a junction in East Peckham.
Her family has now paid tribute to the Zimbabwean, who worked at KIMS Hospital in Newnham Court Way, Maidstone.
Her husband of 31 years, Moses, said: “I really miss her and she was very compassionate and a kind lady.
“She leaves a big void because she was a pillar of strength – Mildred was not only well known through the church, but also through her nursing as she cared for so many people.”
Mrs Matete Hlabi, who lived in Ashford, was a deaconess at Fountain Church in the town, where her funeral was held.
She qualified as a midwife in Africa, and worked as a nurse at the William Harvey Hospital and numerous care homes after moving to Britain in 2004.
Mr Hlabi says she had a natural affinity for nursing after looking after her blind mother as a child.
“Mildred was a hard-working person, very bubbly, intelligent and always very willing to learn,” he said.
“It did blow me away how many people went to the funeral. She will be sorely missed by the whole community.”
She leaves behind 18-year-old son, Leroy, who plays for Gillingham FC’s youth team, and 25-year-old daughter, Lenuecha, a university student.
An inquest into Mrs Matete Hlabi’s death heard the Toyota she was travelling in was pulling out of Martins Lane, at the junction with Seven Mile Lane, on December 13 when it collided with a van.
The Toyota was then hit a second time by a passing Nissan Micra, pushing the vehicle on to its roof.
Mrs Matete Hlabi died at the scene. The two other women in the Toyota, her friends from church, suffered serious injuries, as did the driver of the Nissan.
Mildred Matete Hlabi and right, Seven Mile Lane junction with Martins Lane