Bridget Jones of the Roaring Twenties was let down by her Darcy

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With her passion for romance combined with a habit of noting down her vital statistics, she has been hailed as the Bridget Jones of the Roaring Twenties.

With her passion for romance combined with a habit of noting down her vital statistics, she has been hailed as the Bridget Jones of the Roaring Twenties.

Except Ilene Powell, the 17-year-old Bristol girl whose fun-loving antics were recently uncovered in a dusty diary found in a charity shop, appeared to have far more fun and far fewer insecurities than her hapless modern-day counterpart.

Yesterday, an investigation of the life of Ilene, who died in 1985, found she was as unlucky as Bridget in affairs of the heart. Although at 32 she married a man who featured regularly in her diary, that lasted only four years because he was unfaithful.

Nick Hastings, whose mother was her best friend, said: "She was an absolute riot. She liked to smoke and drink. She was a feisty character and was full of life right to the end."

The Independent reported yesterday how the diary was uncovered last weekend amid a pile of dusty books that arrived at the charity shop Oxfam in Cotham, Bristol. The diary charted Ilene's daily antics between January and March 1925 and included a round of tea-parties, dalliances and dancing. As she wrote in one entry: "Danced with all the lads as usual. Six people asked to take me home. There was a fight and Mrs Morgan fainted. Ticked off JG for making love to me on the roof garden."

The diary even opened with an inscription of Ilene's vital statistics which apart from a reference to hat size (six and five-eighths) would not have looked out of place among the endless lists made by Bridget Jones.

Yesterday, Mr Hastings, 62, who gave the diary to the shop amid articles from his attic, said: "She was a real character. She was very independent all through her life. She used to get up to a lot of things that I wouldn't want to go into. I think she enjoyed her life very much."

Ilene, who was earlier known as Eileen, was born into a wealthy flour merchant's family in January 1908 and enjoyed a privileged upbringing of parties, shopping and trips to the theatre. She lived in a three-storey town house in the affluent Wells Road area of Bristol.

At 32 - the same age as Bridget Jones when she met Mark Darcy - she married Jack Woodley. Mr Hastings said: "I think it was a wartime thing. It didn't last very long."

After that Ilene ran a hotel in Bristol, with her mother. When her mother died in the 1960s, she sold the hotel and moved to Nailsea, north Somerset, then to the seaside town Clevedon.

She died there of a heart attack in 1985.

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