Renowned for being the go-to woman for lingerie, the death of a prominent shop owner in Aldershot is being mourned by the many that knew her.
For decades Noeline Dorrell, known as Nolly, ran shops all over Aldershot town centre selling fashion and underwear items for women – most recently in The Bra Shop in the Wellington Centre.
Nolly passed away last Thursday, aged 67, in hospital after several years of struggling with her health.
The Bra Shop, which opened in October 2012, and has built up a loyal customer base and will continue to operate, with Nolly’s husband of 45 years, Geoff, running the business.
After setting up women’s fashion shop Nolly’s in the old Arcade shopping centre in 1984, the businesswomen moved to a larger premises in Victoria Road when the centre was demolished. She also sold evening dresses and accessories such as handbags and shoes.
Four years later she moved to Wellington Street as Fashion Stop Stocking Box and after another two years added lingerie to her stock list before opening the Bra Shop.
“When the new shop opened it was a big event, of course, with the mayor attending, as Nolly had so many contacts in the town,” said Mr Dorrell, 68.
“She was absolutely brilliant and had lots of loyal customers who wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
Nolly, who moved to Aldershot aged 12 and briefly lived in Farnham, was an active member of the Chambers of Commerce and formed the Retail Action Group to represent traders in Aldershot. The group oversaw the installation of a town centre manager, who in turn created events such as Victoria Day, which was celebrated last Saturday.
Staff at The Bra Shop regularly got involved in the events and always dressed up for Victoria Day.
After years of being runner-up in the Stars Best Shop Awards, a UK-wide competition, Nolly achieved a winner’s certificate in 2012 for her service to customers.
Nolly’s health deteriorated after she was admitted to hospital with fibrosis of the lungs and she contracted pneumonia while she was there. Although she fought this off, she eventually succumbed to a collapsed lung two days before this year’s Victoria Day. She had two siblings but no children.
Asked how his wife would be remembered, Mr Dorrell, who manages Aldershot’s current Arcade on a part-time basis, said: “For her shops and involvement in activities in the town.”