AN AWARD-WINNING youth centre leader and dedicated volunteer has died age 65.

Bridget Biddlecombe grew up on the Isle of Wight with her four siblings, and joined the education department at County Hall after leaving school.

Following her time at County Hall, Mrs Biddlecombe became the secretary at Lake Middle School, and remained at the school until its closure under the Island's school re-organisation.

Mrs Biddlecombe met her husband, Paul, at school, and they married in 1977. Their son, Mark, was born in 1987.

In the 1970s, together with her husband, Mrs Biddlecombe became increasingly active as a leader at Shanklin Voluntary Youth and Community Centre (SVYCC), helping set up a group system for its 1,000 members.

She also helped organise events such as the annual 'fly by night' and was involved with the local scout group.

In 1996, Mrs Biddlecombe returned to SVYCC to spearhead the renovation of the centre, then ravaged by rising damp and dry rot, and co-ordinated a massive community effort involving local volunteers.

Sponsored discos, community fayres and charitable donations saw the centre re-establish itself as the place where youngsters wanted to go at weekends, with almost 400 children attending one evening.

The centre achieved the 4Children National Centre of the Year Award and received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Together with her husband, Mrs Biddlecombe received the British Citizenship Award, as well as the Shahida Nehorai Award for her outstanding contribution to helping children and young people.

She also helped out at Fairway Sports Centre, was active with Shanklin Green Towns and Shanklin Carnival, and supported countless local projects and initiatives, such as the floral display at Shanklin Railway Station.

A service was held on Wednesday, January 6, at the Isle of Wight Crematorium, officiated by Rev Brian Harley, and preceded by a cortege which passed the youth centre.

A celebration of her life will be held later in the year.

Mrs Biddlecombe leaves behind her husband, son, brother Roger, sister Christine, and an extended family at the youth centre.