Search

Dame Betty Asafu Adjaye dies: Tributes pour in for tireless Brent ‘icon’ who founded Mission Dine Club in 1985

PUBLISHED: 18:41 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:58 24 September 2018

Dame Betty Asafu Adjaye

Dame Betty Asafu Adjaye

Archant

Tireless community campaigner and charity chief Dame Betty Asafu Adjaye has died.

Dame Betty with Brent's Conservative leader Cllr Reg Colwill          Picture: Nathalie RaffrayDame Betty with Brent's Conservative leader Cllr Reg Colwill Picture: Nathalie Raffray

Tributes have begun to pour in for Dame Betty, the founder of the Mission Dine Club, who has supported thousands of people within the community.

The big-hearted Brent “icon”, who lived in Bentham Walk, Neasden, died on Wednesday.

Ghanaian-born Dame Betty was honoured for her services to charity in 1997 and was the first black woman to hold the title.

Conservative leader, Reg Colwill, said: “I’m gutted; I had nothing but admiration for her. She worked so hard. She was an icon.

Lorraine King with Dame Betty Asafu Adjaye who founded the Mission Dine Club in HarlesdenLorraine King with Dame Betty Asafu Adjaye who founded the Mission Dine Club in Harlesden

“She visited people’s homes, organised dinners and always get us all dancing. She fed so many people.

“What Brent Council did to her demolishing her centre was totally out of order. She put on a brave face but I don’t think she ever fully recovered but took it into her heart.

“She was a selfless, dynamic, wonderful woman, always smiling. Brent has lost a really dedicated worker.”

Cllr Ernest Ezeajughi, who represents Stonebridge ward, said: “The news of her death has shocked the community. Everybody was crying. I got the tragic news the day before yesterday. My mother was very close to her.

Dame Betty organised a day out for Tudor Gardens Care Home patients who enjoyed Christmas lunch at L. Ron Hubbard’s Fitzroy House  Picture: Nathalie RaffrayDame Betty organised a day out for Tudor Gardens Care Home patients who enjoyed Christmas lunch at L. Ron Hubbard’s Fitzroy House Picture: Nathalie Raffray

“She was tremendous. She worked incredibly hard with the elderly, young people, all ages.

“I am sure Stonebridge and the wider Brent community will miss her. May her gentle soul rest in the Lord.”

Mei Simlai OBE DL, the Queen’s representative for Brent, said: “It’s shocking, I didn’t even know she was ill. She was a truly remarkable lady. She did so much to help the elderly and lonely people in the community.”

Dame Betty ran her charity in Fry Road, Harlesden, for 25 years, holding lunch clubs, social events and hospital visits for the borough’s most vulnerable people. The council demolished the building in 2011, saying the site was needed for a school expansion.

Dame Betty, founder of the Mission Dine Club with Julieta Galarza Youth With A Mission (YWAM) at theSalvation Army in Harlesden   Pic credit: Angela BlakeDame Betty, founder of the Mission Dine Club with Julieta Galarza Youth With A Mission (YWAM) at theSalvation Army in Harlesden Pic credit: Angela Blake

With no permanent base, for the next seven years she travelled from place to place by bus and on foot to offer people the same services, winning the support of many organsation and charities.

Lorraine King, former news editor of the Times, said: “Dame Betty was one of the kindest, caring, most considerate people I have ever known.

“Her tireless work with the community is indescribable and she quickly became not just someone I wrote about but a personal friend.

“Despite losing the building where she hosted her Mission Dine club she continued to feed people by going to them and that included us at the Kilburn Times as she would turn up at the newsroom with cakes and biscuits for us all.

Dame Betty with Mei Simlai OBE  Pic credit: Jonathan GoldbergDame Betty with Mei Simlai OBE Pic credit: Jonathan Goldberg

“Words cannot express how much she was loved and how much she will be missed.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

Dame Betty set up the MDC in 1985 from the kitchen of her small flat to take care of older people.

With funding from the Conservative party and help from the National Lottery she was able grow her charity, taking the lease of a plot of land in Fry Road in 1996.

Dame Betty and Sarah Eicker, Director of Fitzroy House  Picture: Nathalie RaffrayDame Betty and Sarah Eicker, Director of Fitzroy House Picture: Nathalie Raffray

She built a community centre on the site, believing it to be a permanent home.

Ikea, the Swedish DIY giant, rebuilt extra rooms and supplied cooking items and utensils. But it was reduced to rubble in 2011 when the council needed the site back.

Dame Betty’s reach was international. In 2016, in recognition of her work, Ghanaian businessman Kwaku Pong offered to donate his 12-bedroom house in Accra to be used as a residential care home so the MDC could be expanded there.

Last year Brent Council awarded Dame Betty a “special community long service award”, which was presented to her by Deputy High Commissioner Rita Tani Iddi from the Ghana High Commission.

Would you like to pay tribute to Dame Betty? E-mail Nathalie at the Kilburn Times: nathalie.raffray@archant.co.uk.

Latest Kilburn & Brent News Stories

An 80-year-old grandmother was called a “f***ing bitch” in a “foul outburst” by her alleged murderer months before she was strangled with a lawnmower cord in a Colindale allotment shed, the Old Bailey heard today.

Yesterday, 17:37

A “predatory” private hire driver from Brent has been jailed for two years over a series of sexual assaults on lone women in his car.

Yesterday, 14:27

A front page from the Kilburn Times dating back to the Second World War brought together a pair of long-lost cousins – who didn’t even know of each other’s existence.

Yesterday, 09:10

The community living on a Stonebridge estate have expressed fears over their “once in a life time” opportunity to be balloted on redevelopment proposals where they live.

Thu, 10:16

A gun, £20,000 in cash and Class A drugs were seized from a travellers’ site in Neasden during a police raid yesterday.

Wed, 13:25

Armed police raided a travellers’ site in Neasden in the early hours of the morning.

Wed, 09:06

A Brondesbury childminder whose health is deteriorating in her damp-ridden flat is pleading with the council to sort the problem out.

Wed, 07:58

A community gathered in Dollis Hill to scrub out Nazi graffiti that had appeared in Gladstone Park.

PROMOTED CONTENT

A new community centre, The Yellow, opens in Wembley Park in the heart of the Brent community. From October 1, the hub will offer a selection of arts and fitness classes, many of which will be free.

The Granville has begun taking bookings for workspaces and events ahead of its opening this spring.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has announced changes to the community’s cardiology service.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Kilburn Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read Kilburn News

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now