She played Betty Eagleton in the soap for 21 years. 

Tilbrook played the role of Betty for more than two decades, making her final appearance in the soap on Christmas Day 2015 when the character skyped her friends with well wishes after emigrating to Australia.

The actress passed away in December, aged 89.

“The family of Paula Tilbrook are sad to confirm the peaceful passing of their beloved Paula,” a statement reads. “She died of natural causes a few months ago at home with her loved ones beside her. The family respectfully requests privacy at this difficult time.”

Betty left Beckindale in the early ’50s to work as a tiller girl in London. She moved back to the area some time later and appeared for the first time on screen in April 1994 when she ordered a sweet sherry in the Woolpack.

She rekindled old flames with lovable rogue Seth Armstrong, played by the late Stan Richards, and soon put down roots in the village. 

Seth proposed at the end of her first year but the marriage never materialised. The pair postponed it indefinitely – remaining a couple until Seth’s passing on a trip home from Australia in 2004.

Betty also had on-screen partnerships with snobby housemate Alan Turner played by the late Richard Thorp and fellow gossipmonger Edna Birch, the late Shirley Stelfox. Storylines saw many comedy moments including while working at Kathy’s Diner incurring a “gossip overload”, but also serious topics too.

In 1996, she took a none too liberal stance against Zoe Tate’s gay civil union when she tried to have it cancelled. A fire which burned through several buildings in 2011 nearly claimed her life as she slept in her cottage, while an era came to an end in 2013 when she found, village regular for over three decades, Alan Turner had died in his sleep at their home.

Paula made her television debut in 1969 in the sitcom The Dustbinmen. She appeared in kids’ sitcom Ken Dodd and the Diddymen and was a regular on Dodd’s BBC Radio 2 programmes. She also had roles in Coronation Street and Last Of The Summer Wine.

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