Welling woman who died in a car accident walking to church given last rites in the road

PUBLISHED: 11:21 07 October 2010 | UPDATED: 16:31 07 October 2010

Dorothea Rodrigues

Dorothea Rodrigues


An 80-year-old woman died after being hit by a car when she was on her way to church.

Dorothea Rodrigues

An 80-year-old woman who died after being hit by a car when she was on her way to church was given the last rites as she lay dying in the road.

Devout Catholic Dorothea Rodrigues, an active and well respected member of the church community, was killed in the crash in Brampton Road, Welling, on Sunday morning.

A friend who was also on their way to St Thomas More Church in Long Lane, Bexleyheath, where Ms Rodrigues had attended for more than 20 years, witnessed the accident and ran to get Father John O’Donoghue, who rushed to the scene to give her the last rites just as the paramedics were arriving.

Father O’Donoghue, who had know her for more than ten years, said: “She was a very devout and faithful person.

Tess Truman

“She was faithful in how she lived her life and not just by coming to mass on Sundays but by expressing it in care and kindness for others and in service for others.”

Residents of Brampton Road rushed out to help Miss Rodrigues and stop the traffic when they heard the crash at about 10.25am. They took out blankets and tried to comfort Miss Rodrigues who was still conscious after the accident.

But when parademics and a doctor arrived by air ambulance, she had lost consciousness and was declared dead at the scene.

A man in his 30s was arrested at the scene of the accident on suspicion of death by careless driving. He has been released on bail to return to a south London police station in early January.

Roadside tributes

Every Wednesday morning Miss Rodrigues volunteered as a ‘welcomer’ at the drop in centre at The Meeting Place in Fisher Parish Centre in Thanet Road in Bexley, where she would help serve food, talk to people and clean.

Fellow volunteer and choir leader at the Fisher parish Tess Truman, 77 from Bexley, said: “She was such a generous person. She was very active and would get two buses to come here and help every week.

“When I heard the news it was a terrible shock I just thought no, it can’t be her because I spoke to her a few days ago. I was in shock. Dorothea would be coming through the doors about now. I still can’t believe it.”

Miss Rodrigues of Brixham Road, Welling, grew up in Kenya where she worked at the office of the Secretariat to the Prime Minister before moving to Bexley approximately 40 years ago.

An active member of the church community in Bexley, she was a member of the Bexley Deanery Pastoral Council, involved in the work of Ecumenism with the Catholic Deanery of Bexley and gave communion and readings at her parish.

A 77-year-old neighbour, of Brixham Road, who did not want to be identified, called her “a lovely woman”. She added: “She was a very pleasant and kind person. She always asked you how you and those were always her first words.”

A postmortem was due to take place at Croydon mortuary yesterday.

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