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Jill Dando was an ordinary little girl who grew up to have an extraordinary life. Her personality shone through her wonderful smile. Jill loved life and it showed. This is our photo tribute to the girl who was welcome in everybody's living room...

Jill was 18 when she first trod the boards in an amateur dramatic production. This picture (left) shows her on stage in 1983 in Weston-super-Mare. Acting brought Jill confidence and a large group of friends. Programmes from productions in which she appeared remained among her most prized possessions

Jill's sense of fun shone through and captivated everyone she met. This picture (right) was taken at a garden party at Torbay Hospital in 1986. Jill always made time to talk to fans although she couldn't understand the public's fascination with her. "It's nice to think people see me as a mate," she once said

Jill read the news on Christmas Day 1990. Ever the one for fun and games, she was happy to pucker up under the mistletoe with Les Dawson (left)

Jill's natural exuberance shone through when she went to Butlin's in April 1994 (left). Despite suffering heart palpitations Jill refused to dwell on it and always insisted on living every day to the full

Jill longed to be a mum herself one day and was always moved by youngsters who were poorly or in need. Here (left) she joined fellow presenter Carol Smillie on the BBC's Children In Need show in 1994

Jill's favourite photograph (left) was taken in February 1996 at the Vienna Opera Ball in Austria which Jill said was a magical evening. Her hero Sir Cliff Richard turning up as her surprise dance partner was a wonderful treat. Jill adored the crushed velvet flowing designer dress loaned to her for the night and worth an estimated pounds 7,000. Jill said she felt like Cinderella Jill in bubbly spirits with Sir Cliff Richard at the 1997 Hampton Court Flower Show. Cliff had been Jill's childhood pin-up but became a close friend

Jill and fellow BBC presenter Des Lynam launched a classic car cavalcade to celebrate 30 years of BBC local radio - where both began their broadcasting careers.

"Jill was a lovely person, a dear friend," Des said after her death

In May 1998, Jill and her fiance Alan Farthing met the Queen at the Celebration of Scouting exhibition at London's Natural History Museum. Her friendly charm enabled her to mix effortlessly with royalty and ordinary people alike

The final photo... Jill and Alan at the Poppy Ball Gala in London last month. Just before her death she said: "I now know that when you meet the right person, you know." In another interview she said: "I get romantic notions, a country home, roses round the door, two children. Maybe it will happen..."

Jill spent last Christmas with her dad, Jack, now 81, her brother, Nigel, 46, and Alan. Jack Dando had undergone major surgery for cancer earlier in the year. When Jill's engagement was announced, he was delighted. "Now she has finally got someone to look after her," he said

Jill was always willing to help good causes. Here she poses with baubles at a charity auction of the Queen's Christmas decorations at Phillips auctioneers in January this year. Jill felt her smile was her best feature although she thought maybe she'd developed too many laughter lines

Jill with her sports car during filming for her last television venture, The Antiques Inspectors. The first episode of the show was screened the night before her death. The BBC has now cancelled the series
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:May 9, 1999
Previous Article:JILL DANDO: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR BLOSSOMS; Even as a child, Jill Dando fought battles and won - surviving a major heart operation. But as she blossomed...

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