Community is grieving after death of ‘kindest human being on Earth’

Tina Thirkell. SUS-180228-094658001
Tina Thirkell. SUS-180228-094658001

They say that true kindness is the act of giving without the need for something in return. If this is true, than Christina ‘Tina’ Thirkell was the epitome of true kindness.

The Little Common and wider Bexhill community is grieving this week, following news that Little Common Newsagents’ owner, Tina Thirkell, has passed away.

An integral part of the close-knit village community, Tina will be missed by many.

Tina was born in Little Common to parents Ben and Rita Ansell. At age 16 she met her lifelong partner Philip Thirkell and together they had two boys, Nicholas Philip Thirkell, now aged 39, and Benjamin Philip Thirkell, now aged 36.

Family was everything to Tina and whether you were her brother (Dave Ansell), one of her two sons, or her third cousin once removed, she treated you the same. She never confined ‘family’ to those who resided in the family home, instead encompassing every ancestor, descendant and family friend. She was an incredible neighbour too, always on the lookout for ways she could help.

Next to family, the Little Common community was her great love. This she made obvious with her generous acts of care and support. Through the newsagency shop counter (which operates from Nettlestead, Meads Avenue 10am-12am daily and 7am- 12pm weekends) Tina ran an extensive second-hand book collection; the proceeds going to St Michael’s Hospice.

She also collected plastic milk bottle tops and old stamps, with proceeds going to Animal Rescue and Prostate Cancer research. A Sara Lee Trust collection bottle sat on the newsagents’ shop counter, and she was forever arranging morning teas, afternoon teas, market stalls and garden parties for charity.

Her husband Phil, who admits to Tina being the driver of their charity collections and parties, promises these activities will continue in her honour.

He said: “Tina was one of the kindest human beings ever to walk this Earth.

“Everything she did was for other people and even in her darkest days she didn’t ask for anything back.

“She fought against cancer so hard and for so long, yet all the while other people’s health and wellbeing stayed at the forefront.”

For her son’s Nick and Ben, Tina was the ultimate role model. Devoted to her husband and children and focused on supporting those around her, she taught her boys how to live a selfless life and how to keep a smile on your face even when times are tough.

She also taught them to take care of themselves and how to treat a lady, to which her daughter-in- law Bronwyn Thirkell (Ben’s wife) and Kay James (Nick’s partner) are grateful.

Tina spent her final nine-years as ‘Nanny’ to grandchildren Chloe and Finn, who live in Australia with Bronwyn and Ben. She made regular trips to Australia, and loved spending time at the beach. When Chloe and Finn visited England, she took great delight in showing them off to all their shop customers.

“I will really miss our FaceTime chats,” said Chloe, aged nine. “But I’m so glad I got to know her. Nanny made everyone feel very loved. Nanny liked to take selfies so luckily I have lots of photos I can treasure forever.”

A service is being held for Tina at the Eastbourne Crematorium at 12:15pm on Wednesday, March 7.

Little Common Newsagents is open for business as usual and Phil encourages you to stop by and share your memories of Tina.