A FORMER secretary at the Lancashire Telegraph who once met Tom Jones led an interesting and varied life before losing her two-year battle with terminal lung cancer.

Florence Amanda Maria Dugdale, known as Mandy, died on December 30, just months short of her 60th birthday.

Born in Hannover, Germany, she lived in Malaysia, and Folkstone, before the family relocated to Blackburn and she attended Witton Park High School before moving on to secretarial college.

She met Tom Jones in the Cavendish Club in Blackburn on her 18th birthday before he was famous. She married her husband David Speak in 1976.

The couple, who lived in Knowsley Road West, met a number of famous faces during their travels.

They met actors Telly Savalas and Richard Roundtree in Rhodes filming Escape to Athena in 1978, and the cast of Star Wars in Tunisia in 1977. She also met the Queen, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Cliff Richard and was kissed on the cheek by Cilla Black.

The couple divorced in 1985, and Mrs Speak never remarried and brought up their son Richard.

Mrs Speak worked at the Lancashire Evening Telegraph as a secretary and later in advertising, winning sales person of the year.

She worked at Blackburn Rovers in the commercial depart- ment, before becoming com- mercial manager at Burnley FC.

Mrs Speak also worked as appeal secretary for the Blackburn Cathedral Lan-tern Tower Appeal, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale hospitals as a primary care administrator, as a swimming teacher at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Blackburn and part-time as PA to Lord Taylor of Blackburn.

In December 2010, she became ill and was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer following an operation in October 2011. Her son Richard said: “Mum was fearlessly independent and always trying to help others. Last year was a difficult year. She was preparing to move to London to live with me but her illness overcame her and she passed away without too much suffering. She was kind and generous, often to her own detriment.”

Her funeral will take place on Monday at 2.15pm at Wilpshire Methodist Church. Her ashes will be scattered in the Lake District in a small private ceremony for her 60th birthday in May.