By Celine Hispiche
I first met Sally Fiber in 2012 through our mutual friend Beth Saunders. Both Beth and myself were working on projects about Betty May the Tiger Woman, a bohemian muse who frequented Sally’s family pub ‘The Fitzroy Tavern’, 16 Charlotte Street, in the early part of the 20th century.
It was even more exciting to discover the wonderful book that Sally had written ‘The Fitzroy’. I loved going to visit her at her home in Northwood. I was privileged to spend several lunches with her and she was a fantastic host.
We both loved storytelling with naughty cream cakes and cups of tea. We both encouraged each other with our work.
She spoke at several of my events. One that was extremely special was at her pub ‘The Fitzroy’ where she gave everybody a potted history of her life and a detailed and informative account of the colourful people both she and her family had encountered whilst growing up in one of the most historical pubs in Central London.
She kept every archive from the original artwork that hung on its walls to the autograph book that was filled with pictures and anecdotes from its bohemian clientele.
Imagine sitting in the saloon bar with Walter Sickert at one table, Augustus John on another and Jacob Epstein, Nina Hamnett and Betty May propping up the bar. Later famous drinkers were Dylan Thomas, George Orwell and Tommy Cooper to name but a few!
An avid bridge player Sally loved people and made everybody feel very welcome. She was a vibrant and elegant lady who would light up every room. This was a woman who was a real trooper and never complained.
From a very early age she encountered much ill health. Sally always kept her spirits up throughout these bouts and kept marching on.
Sally was a passionate lady who was extremely proud of her family and always spoke so fondly of them and her late husband Arthur.
Her work with charities was phenomenal and in her later years was working on her children’s charity that was a rebirth to the original charity her parents set up ‘Pennies From Heaven’.
She was a very respected and loved member of the Northwood Liberal Synagogue and was a familiar face in her local community.
They don’t make ladies like this anymore, she was one of a kind and will be truly missed by her family and close friends. Let’s raise a toast to Sally and I bet she’s up there having a drink with family, friends and bygone entertaining regulars.
Sally Fiber, born 4 May 1936, died 14 August 2017.
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