A Soroptomists stalwart described as "a tour de force in the community" was laid to rest on the same day as HM The Queen.

Brenda Hillier, who died on August 29 at the age of 91, was club president of Soroptimist International St Albans and District in 1988/89 and 1995/6 and club secretary and regional officer for many years, and was described as an inspiration to many during this time.

She featured regularly in the pages of the Herts Advertiser over the years, including one occasion in 1987 when we extensively profiled her work in the local community.

St Albans Soroptomists communications officer Jane Slatter said: "What a tour de force she was in the community! Brenda would have been chuffed to know that her funeral was the same day as the Queen!"

Born in Southend-on-Sea in 1931, she moved to Swindon when she was five, and after the outbreak of the Second World War developed a lifelong fascination with global politics after secretly listening to the wireless behind closed doors.

Brenda went to Swindon College to study secretarial skills, law, and economics, which she made a career out of, marrying Patrick Hillier in 1953. After some years living in the USA, during which time their daughters Angela and Carol were born, they moved to Redbourn in 1964, and Brenda soon gave birth to son Keith.

Redbourn was to remain her home for the next 40 years, and she quickly became a central figure in the village. A renowned cook, there were always extras at the dinner table and anyone was welcome, a tradition that she maintained throughout her life.

Herts Advertiser: Brenda Hillier hosting one of her legendary barbecues.Brenda Hillier hosting one of her legendary barbecues. (Image: Supplied)

The Hilliers were famous for hosting dinner parties, American-style barbecues and swimming pool parties. One party in particular was noteworthy because it was an unusually hot night and everyone was in the pool late into the evening. The neighbours called the police to complain about the noise and when they arrived they were invited to take a dip, which they did!

Brenda was involved with many local organisations including The Ladies Circle and Soroptimists International, and was a strong proponent of women helping women.

Brenda was a founder member of the Redbourn Association, and threw her remarkable energies into organising giant fairs, including an ox-roast on the Common. They were events deliberately aimed at creating a village environment, and it worked. Redbourn triumphantly resisted the threat of being swallowed up by neighbouring towns.

“Ask Brenda” became a byword in Redbourn and, when the prayed-for-bypass was opened, she used her skills to organise a street party in the High Street, which up to that moment had put fear and dread into pedestrians.

After Pat died in 2004 she moved to California to be closer to her girls, dying peacefully of natural causes with her daughter Carol by her side. Her funeral was on September 19.

A section of her obituary written by Brenda's three children Angela Dennie, Carol Blake and Keith Hillier read: "Brenda was a woman who loved life and lived it to the fullest. She was known as a great organiser, superb hostess, and cook. She would help anyone who needed help. Some of her favourite sayings were 'take life as it comes' and 'when one door shuts another one opens'.

"She said she only believed in looking forward. She loved connecting with people and made many lifelong friends at all stages of her life. Brenda was still making friends in her assisted living home up until she died, and was loved by all the staff."