Shocked neighbours pay tribute to 'a lovely woman' and 'a real character' as 91-year-old woman dies in alleged hit and run in Old Portsmouth

OLD Portsmouth has lost ‘a real character’ in a fatal alleged hit-and-run, according to friends and neighbours who have paid tribute to their ‘lovely’ 91-year-old friend who ‘was absolutely set to reach 100’.

Officers were called at around 6.42am on Monday after the seriously injured pensioner was found in High Street outside of the Duke of Buckingham pub.

The woman later died of her injuries at Southampton General Hospital, with specialist officers informing and supporting her family.

Police are investigating after enquiries revealed that she was struck by a black Nissan Qashqai, which didn’t stop at the scene.

Sandra Holmes, a neighbour and friend, who rushed to the 91-old-year-old's side after the incident.

Now the community has paid tribute to the pensioner, a German national who friends in the area knew as Hildegard, who lived in Town Court in High Street.

Fellow court resident Sandra Holmes said that on the morning of the incident she heard the ‘most almighty bang’, which she thought was two cars crashing together – before seeing that her friend was laying stricken just metres from her home.

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The 75-year-old rushed to her friend’s side, holding her hand while a passing nurse administered first aid.

A police sign appealing for witnesses and information following the incident in High Street in Old Portsmouth.

Sandra said: ‘It was horrible. I held her hand and said ‘it’s me, it’s Sandra’.’

‘Later when I heard she had died, I was really, genuinely upset – to end like that when she could have died peacefully in her sleep. She was so strong – she could have absolutely reached 100 years old.

‘She was a very caring person, very loving.’

Another resident, who asked not be named, agreed: ‘She was a battler, I could have 100 per cent seen her getting to 100.

‘She was a lovely woman.’

With her tall stature – ‘never bent over’, according to Sandra - and her smart dress sense, friends say the 91-year-old was often seen keeping fit with long walks across the city.

‘She wasn’t someone you would forget’, according to Sandra.

She added: ‘Every single morning without fail she would go out and go for a walk and go to the shop to get her paper.

‘She went for long walks in the day, you would see her all over Portsmouth.’

A loyal reader of The News and several national papers, the much-missed member of the community was a much appreciated customer for Michelle Hammond, who would sell her the daily papers from the grocery shop at the corner High Street and Pembroke Road.

Michelle said: ‘She was just a lovely lady who I had all the time in the world for.

‘When things were going on for (the D-Day 75 Anniversary commemorations across Southsea), she would tell us stories about her family living in Germany.

‘When I heard it was a fatal incident, I cried.

‘She’s 91, how horrible to have your life end like that.’

A 45-year-old man from Portsmouth had been arrested in connection with the incident and has now been released under investigation while police enquiries continue.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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