'Queen of Milton' and much-loved barmaid Dee Skelton remembered at packed funeral attracting more than 150 mourners

MORE than 150 mourners packed St Mary’s Church in Fratton for the funeral of a much-loved and larger-than-life barmaid known as a ‘mum for all of Portsmouth’.

Saturday, 4th December 2021, 4:55 am

Cordelia Stemp, more often known as Dee Skelton, died at her home in Westfield Road, Eastney, after feeling suddenly unwell while at the Hampshire Boulevard nightclub in St Paul’s Road on November 11.

Now mourners have paid their respects at a service held to remember the popular 49-year-old barmaid, who had worked at the Lady Hamilton pub for more than three years.

Wearing black sunglasses and black fedoras to honour the Madness and Amy Winehouse fan, attendees sang along to Baccara’s Yes Sir, I Can Boogie as part of the tributes to the bubbly, boogie-loving mum-of-two.

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Yolanda Stemp and other family mourners at the funeral of Dee Skelton, in St Mary's Church, Fratton. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Dee’s daughter, Yolanda Stemp, 23, was overcome with emotion as she bravely delivered the eulogy at the front of the church.

Supported by several rounds of applause from those attending, Yolanda said her mother’s passing had ‘left a hole in so many hearts’.

She added: ‘I want to thank each and everyone for attending here today – seeing so many people here show much she was loved by so many different.

‘My heart stopped the moment that (hers) did.

‘I lost more than a mum – I lost my best friend, my sister, and my soul mate.’

Speaking away from the service, Dee’s son Freddy Stemp, 25, said: ‘I love her and miss her so much.’

Reflecting on her mother’s unexplained death, Yolanda added: ‘I still don’t understand why you have been taken from me.’

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The family released several doves in tribute to their mother. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Hailed as ‘the Queen of Milton’ in a floral tribute shaped like a crown, Dee was a ‘second-mum’ to anyone who needed help, according to Ewan Bird.

The close family friend said Dee had always supported him during periods of deteriorating mental health –and she had a sense of compassion that extended to so many people in their community.

The 22-year-old said: ‘She saved my life more times than people know.

‘She always checked after me when I was down – every time I was down, she was there.

‘She was everyone’s mum.’

Another family friend, Emma Faith, agreed: ‘She was a mother to everyone.

‘For her children, having so many people being here, it’s going to mean everything going forward.’

Mourners joined Dee’s family in releasing close to 100 helium balloons, as well as several white doves, from the grounds of St Mary’s.

Kylie Caveney, who worked with Dee as a fellow barmaid at the Lady Hamilton pub, in The Hard, said Dee would have been touched to see so many people pay their final respects.

She said: ‘She would love it – and she would want everyone to have a drink and toast her.’

An inquest will be held into Dee’s death, with fears she had been spiked on her last night out.

Police said her death was not suspicious.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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