Tributes have poured in following the death of “icon and legend” Maggie Khondoker, who ran her namesake café in the heart of Lewisham for over 30 years.

Maggie passed away on June 28 at the age of 74 following a short illness, leaving behind her husband Mazid, three children and eight grandchildren.

Known for her warm manner and generosity, she built close ties with the community, serving quality home cooked food and bottomless cups of tea. 

Lara Boyle, a friend and customer for 30 years, said: “Maggie is an absolute legend, an icon for Lewisham.

News Shopper: Maggie and her husband Mazid

“Her story is incredible. She built up a café from scratch that is known the world over.

“She combined good, old fashioned Irish hospitality with a business sense.

“Maggie was a powerhouse. She worked so hard, from early morning to evening.

“If she had had a fit bit, she would have clocked up miles everyday!”

Mrs Khondoker, born in County Cavan, Ireland, emigrated to the UK alone at the age of 15. 

She met her Bangladeshi husband while working in the hotel industry. 

The couple opened Maggie's Cafe and Restaurant in 1983, serving traditional Irish food, expanding its size over the years. 

Her sons Oliver and Anthony took on the business in 2004, although Maggie continued to play a prominent role as host and heart of a community institution. 

"You felt the love in there," Lara, who lives in Eltham, added. 

"She was inclusive, welcoming. Maggie’s café was a port in a storm.

"She had time for everyone, people of all walks of life.

"Whoever you are, wherever you are from, you are welcome.

Maggie was renowned for her generosity with tea. 

"It was impossible to just have one - she’d keep on filling you up.

"She’s worthy of a statue - teapot in one hand and milk jug in the other."

Locals have taken to social media en masse to pay tribute, with hundreds commenting on the cafe's Facebook page. 

The family's statement reads: "Our wonderful mother, Maggie, died this morning, June 28, after a short (non-Covid related) illness that took her from us suddenly.

"She was happy in her last days with her family around her.

"Our hearts are broken.

"Thank you for all your kind messages. They mean so much to us.

"She was a very special lady, happiest in the cafe, teapot in hand, and we are so proud that she was our mum."