Tribute to Hastings woman who had ‘best little fancy dress shop in town’

Tributes have been paid to a well-loved shop owner from Hastings Old Town.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 10:20 am
Agnes Hall SUS-211005-121245001

Agnes Hall died aged 94 on May 2.

The seamstress owned several shops in the Old Town in the 1970s and 1980s.

Her daughter, Laura Little, said: “Agnes led the opening of the carnival each year as Madame Bovary with any participants getting a free costume for the day.

“She had the biggest fancy dress outlet in East Sussex with 4,000 costumes, of which more than 900 were designed by her.

“She had shops in George Street in the 1970s and 1980s and shops in the High Street in the 1990s and 2000s. She had her last shop in Courthouse Mews before retiring to Australia, saying England was just ‘too cold’.”

Agnes’ other daughter, Elaine Akerstrom, said: “Every year Hastings had a huge carnival, with games, challenges and races in which the whole town participated. Everyone came to Aggie for their team costumes, and as demand grew, her shop turned into the best little fancy dress shop in Hastings, even making the local paper.

“She added more and more costumes, from WWII army and navy uniforms, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, pirates, saloon girls, Marilyn Monroe and even the Teletubbies, all made with her talented hands.”

Agnes moved to Australia in 2006 to live near her daughter Elaine and her husband Sean and grandchildren, in the town of Leeman.

Elaine said: “Aggie loved being part of the community in Leeman, and was a valued member of the local choir, as she loved to sing, she enjoyed being part of such calendar events as the ANZAC ceremony and Melbourne Cup and enjoyed every moment.

“Over the years, one of her favourite daily indulgences was a glass of Guinness and packet of salt and vinegar crisps at lunch time. She always used to tell us it was ‘full of iron and kept her going strong’, but also reminding her of the times in Hastings at her local pub, The Queen Adelaide, where she also loved to entertain the people by singing all the old favourites.

“Agnes was always a person to ‘make her mark’ in society wherever she went, leaving a long-lasting impression on many people, over many years.

“She was truly a lovely lady, with love and family being foremost in her heart and mind. Her warmth, her wisdom, her compassion, her kindness, and her strength is what made her the remarkable woman she was, the incredible woman we all knew and loved, and the amazing woman will miss so dearly.”