Diana Eve Gould

En­thu­si­as­tic cen­te­nar­ian torch-bearer for a life far less or­di­nary

The Jewish Chronicle - - OBITS -

AT THE age of 100 Diana Eve Gold was the old­est participant in the Lon­don 2012 Olympic Torch Re­lay, car­ry­ing the torch on her old home turf in Hen­don, NW Lon­don. As ev­ery­one who met her tes­ti­fied – from the man­ager of her lo­cal Sains­bury’s to the Duchess of Cam­bridge, from Boris John­son to Joan Bakewell – Diana Gould, who has died aged 106, was far from or­di­nary. She had a pas­sion­ate en­thu­si­asm for life and for peo­ple.

Her charm and her wis­dom be­came ap­par­ent when she was se­lected to take part in the Lon­don 2012 Olympic Torch Re­lay. Turn­ing 100 shortly be­fore the Games be­gan, she was in­ter­viewed for count­less me­dia pieces from the Evening Stan­dard, Guardian and Tele­graph to a BBC2 ed­u­ca­tional pro­gramme and a Ja­panese TV doc­u­men­tary.

She turned down an in­vi­ta­tion from Jeremy Pax­man to ap­pear on BBC News­night on the grounds that she didn’t like him! She was pho­tographed for the Olympic Road to 2012 ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery by renowned Is­raeli-born pho­tog­ra­pher Na­dav Kan­der. And in the same year she was a guest at the Woman of the Year lunch.

A nat­u­ral in­ter­vie­wee, she was happy to share her ob­ser­va­tions on a healthy and pos­i­tive men­tal out­look, as well as her mem­o­ries of the city in which she had spent her life. Me­dia in­ter­est in her con­tin­ued long af­ter the Olympic Games ended. She fea­tured in a Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­tary about long life pre­sented by Dr Chris­tian Jessen in 2015 and in 2017 she was in­ter­viewed by Joan Bakewell for a Panorama spe­cial about cen­te­nar­i­ans and later on TV and in a Woman’s Hour in­ter­view on Ra­dio 4. Her fi­nal me­dia ap­pear­ance was in Jan­uary this year when she was filmed for BBC Break­fast TV.

Diana Eve Gould was born in Poland, WNK[ XM_ ]QN āX^WPN\] MK^PQ]N[ XO Mary (Manya) and Zal­man Sil­ver­berg. She and her mother and sib­lings came to Lon­don in 1913, join­ing her fa­ther and two older broth­ers who had come the year be­fore to seek a bet­ter life and to avoid the prob­a­bil­ity of be­ing draft- NM RW]X ]QN ò_K[´\ K[Vā

The fam­ily lived in Beth­nal Green, E Lon­don and she re­mained at Mans­ford Street Cen­tral school un­til she was 14.

She then worked as a seam­stress for Brenner Sports, a high-fash­ion com­pany in Carn­aby Street that spe­cialised in copy­ing dresses from the lat­est haute­cou­ture styles on the Paris cat­walks.

In 1936 she mar­ried Ell­wood (Ted) Gould, an up­hol­sterer and later black taxi driver, and they had two sons, born ei­ther side of the Sec­ond World War, in which Ted served as a fire­man in the Aux­il­iary Fire Ser­vice in Lon­don. They lived in Stam­ford Hill be­fore mov­ing to a flat in Stoke New­ing­ton and then in 1960 to their own house in Hen­don.

As a res­i­dent of the city for over 100 years, Diana was al­ways fas­ci­nated by the his­tory of Lon­don. Her ear­li­est mem­ory was see­ing horse-drawn buses on Shored­itch High Street when she was two years old. She also re­called the lo­cal po­lice­man cy­cling around with a whis­tle to warn of air raids dur­ing the First World War and a Zep­pelin fly­ing over her pri­mary school play­ground.

She cred­ited a wardrobe made by her fa­ther with sav­ing the fam­ily’s life M^[RWP ]QN 2UR]_ 2ā YUKûRWP R] Kû[X\\ the win­dow it pro­tected them from the bomb blast and fly­ing glass when the next-door build­ing took a di­rect hit.

Last year she con­trib­uted to the PhD project of Rabbi Miri Lawrence on Ju­daism in the Sub­ur­ban Home in the post-war pe­riod. A filmed in­ter­view with Diana, which formed part of the re­search, was shown at the Gef­frye Mu­seum (close to her child­hood home) where it will be on per­ma­nent dis­play when it re­opens in 2020.

Diana was a keep-fit en­thu­si­ast through­out her life, tak­ing ex­er­cise classes at the Women’s League of Health and Beauty. She started play­ing bad­minton in her 70s and con­tin­ued un­til she was 89, when she moved into a re­tire­ment flat in Ken­ton. There she ran weekly fit­ness classes un­til she was over 102.

Diana was a very keen reader, de­vour­ing many nov­els, es­pe­cially thrillers,each week. She was never ÿR]QX^] K Y^__UN LXXT Lā QN[ K[VûQKR[ and loved to play Scrabble. She is sur­vived by her sons Brian and Stuart, four grand­chil­dren and six great-grand­chil­dren. Ted pre­de­ceased her in 1978. ALEX ANTSCHERL

Diana Eve Gould: born May 12, 1912. Died June 25, 2018

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