Barnoldswick centenarian has died

Mary Whalley (second right) stepping out with friends on the Annual Whit Walk in Barnoldswick. (S)
Mary Whalley (second right) stepping out with friends on the Annual Whit Walk in Barnoldswick. (S)

Barnoldswick centenarian Mary Whalley has died peacefully in Airedale Hospital.

Mary (100), who was a life deacon at Barnoldswick Baptist Church, died on Saturday, November 19th and tributes from friends have come in from as far away as the United States and New Zealand.

Born on January 27th, 1915, to Enoch and Eleanor Green, Mary was one of six children, three boys and three girls with siblings Robert, Henry, Harold, Isabella and Lorna.

She started work as a weaver in one of the many cotton mills in the town, but was eventually taken ill, and the doctor persuaded her parents that she needed a more healthy environment.

She was taken on as a housemaid by the Harvey’s just outside Littleborough, where Mary met her future husband Eric, a joiner and cabinet maker.

Eric later worked at Fairey Aviation in Manchester before the family moved back to Barnoldswick where Eric was employed by Briggs and Duxbury, and played cricket for the town’s second XI.

Shortly after, twin girls were born, but they both died within a few weeks of birth, the tragedy being compounded by the death of Eric from an industrial accident in 1948.

Mary returned to work in several mills, finishing at Crownest. Outside of work, Mary was a stalwart of the then Bethesda Baptist Chapel, where she held the post of Secretary and Registrar of marriages until retirement and was always involved in the choir and pantomime productions.

She leaves behind her daughter-in-law, Brenda, two grandchildren, Barry and Wendy, and two great-grandchildren, Megan and James.

The funeral is at the Baptist Church Centre in Manchester Road in Barnoldswick today at 1-30pm followed by a burial at Ghyll at approximately 2-30pm.