Yorkie-mad Doris was always game for a laugh

Doris Picknell. INLM1412-917con
Doris Picknell. INLM1412-917con
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DORIS Picknell was a woman who enjoyed the simple things in life - spending time with her family and walks in the park with her two dogs.

Doris died at the age of 85 on Friday and will be remembered as a popular gameshow contestant.

Doris Picknell with Bruce Forsythe on his game show. INLM1412-918con

Doris Picknell with Bruce Forsythe on his game show. INLM1412-918con

Doris was born in 1927 to Joe and Victoria May Beattie. The family lived on the Gilford Road and were well known in the Lurgan area, particularly when Doris was crowned Miss Lurgan in 1947.

She was a former pupil of King’s Park Primary School and was honoured to be invited to the school’s 75th anniversary celebrations in 2011.

Doris was a member of the WAF and her husband to be, Frederick Robert Picknell from Battersea, was in the medical corps. They met at a dance at Aldergrove and later married in Shankill Parish Church.

They went on to have six children - Barry, Glen who was named after Glenavon, Kim, Colin, Michael and Donna. The couple moved to England in 1961.

Lurgan was never far from Doris’s heart and she always spoke of going back there one day.

After her husband died in 2003, Doris made the journey home, moving to 42 Demesne Avenue. She returned to Tamworth for a short while and when she came back to Lurgan, because she couldn’t move back into 42 Demesne Avenue, she bought the property next door at 44.

Doris was a determined individual and wanted to be close to the park and close to her friends who she’d kept in contact with since childhood.

She loved nothing more than to walk her two Yorkshire Terriers - Benji and Roly - in Lurgan Park. Even the fact that she lost her sight in recent years didn’t stop her making the journey round the park with her Yorkies.

Her daughter Donna said: “Until she was ill she would have gone to the park every day.

“She’s always had Yorkies. Benji and Roly have been with her for about nine years. They are a bit lost without her.”

As well as her walks in the park, Doris loved being on television and radio and her wishes were granted on many occasions when she appeared on a number of UK gameshows.

It started with The Generation Game in 1994 when she appeared with her son Colin.

Donna said: “It wasn’t like she was ringing to the gameshows. They rang her.

“Once she’d been on The Generation Game they started phoning her asking her to come on. They wanted her on the sort of shows where they needed the contestants to be up for a laugh.

“One of her regrets was that she never got on to Deal or No Deal.

As well as The Generation Game, Doris appeared on Family Fortunes with her four sons, The Price Is Right, Take Your Pick, Ant & Dec’s Slap Bang, The Generation Game Reunion, Simon Mayo’s Confessions and What’s Cooking.

Donna said: “She wasn’t one for general knowledge. When she was on Ant and Dec’s she called Dec a bugger when she got the final question wrong and lost all the prizes. She thought they would have cut it out.

“She was always game for a laugh. When she was on Take Your Pick she pinched Des O’Connor’s bum.”

Donna said: “She loved England and she loved Lurgan. Both places were close to her heart.

“When she was on Family Fortunes, Les Dennis asked her where she was from and mum said, ‘Between England and Ireland’. Les said, ‘What? The sea?’ and everyone was in stitches.”

Doris’s life was not without tragedy and after losing her husband in 2003 she moved back to Lurgan from England.

Her son Colin had never been on a plane before and when he got a flight over to see his mother in Lurgan he contracted Deep Vein Thrombosis which led to his death in 2005.

Doris herself had a clean bill of health up until she was diagnosed with cancer on February 14.

Donna said: “Mum was told she had weeks to live. She was living with us at the time in England while the extension was being done on her house in Lurgan. We wanted to get her back into the house in Lurgan after she was diagnosed. Pete the builder was fantastic and we were able to get her back home on February 24. She had a month back home before she died.

“We enjoyed St Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day here as a family.

“Even at the end we were told on the Sunday that was it, but she defied the odds lasted right through to Friday.”

On Wednesday there will be a funeral service for Doris at Malcomsons at 10.30am followed by a wake in Lurgan Golf Club. En route to cremation at Roselawn, Doris’s funeral cortege has been granted permission to drive through her beloved park.

Her daughter Kim said: “It’s fitting that the funeral car will be allowed to drive through the park. Mum loved the park and it was always what brought her back to Lurgan.

“We’ll all be wearing Marie Curie badges at the funeral because the care they gave her was second to none.”

She added: “Mum was a really fun loving individual. She was no average 85-year-old. She had lovely neighbours and friends and Lurgan was where she wanted to be for her last days.”