Former professional dancer Barbara was in step to tackle Pendle Hill challenge... at the age of 80

Plucky Barbara Wright-Hurst almost at the top of Pendle Hill for her 80th birthday.
Plucky Barbara Wright-Hurst almost at the top of Pendle Hill for her 80th birthday.

Former professional dancer Barbara Wright-Hurst has ticked off the number one item on her bucket list to climb Pendle Hill.... on her 80th birthday.

Inspirational Barbara completed the challenge in memory of her partner, Roy Hardacre, who died at the age of 97 last year.

Barbara with the 'love of her life' Roy Hardacre.

Barbara with the 'love of her life' Roy Hardacre.

A remarkably fit and strong man Roy regularly walked up Pendle and he had dreamed of taking Barbara one day.

After his death Barbara vowed she would walk in his footsteps and she was determined to climb Pendle even though it was the first time she has ever tackled anything like this.

Barbara said: "I miss Roy everyday but I know that he would be proud of me. I did this to honour his memory as he had always wanted me to join him.

"I have never done anything like this before and it was very emotional when I got to the top.

"It was harder than I thought but I feel so pleased to have done it."

Barbara came up with the idea for the walk after her granddaughter, Claire, asked her to put together a bucket list.

Barbara added: "My family are thrilled to bits for me that I have done this.

"I have had a hell of a time since Roy died but my wonderful family and good friends have helped me through and I would like to thank them for being there for me."

Roy served in the Battle of Britain in the RAF during World War Two and was believed to be the last surviving member of Squadron 51 which he served with for seven years after signing up at the age of 18.

Roy was hailed as a local hero after serving in Africa, Ireland and Egypt and remained proud to be a military man for the rest of his life, representing the RAF at many events.

He was invited to attend the Royal Garden party in 2016 to represent his squadron and was also given the Freedom of Nelson in 2013 in honour of his distinguished career.

And in 2017 Roy, who lived in Fence, was asked to lead the parade for the Remembrance Day parade in Burnley.

A founder member of the Brierfield and Reedley Rotary Club Roy also became the youngest member of Brierfield Urban District Council.

An accomplished saxophonist, one of Roy's main interests was ballroom dancing and he loved going on coach holidays to St Anne's where he could indulge his passion.

And it was during a holiday to St Anne's that he met Barbara. They were introduced by a friend of Barbara's who owned the hotel where Roy was staying and so began a wonderful love story which Barbara described as a 'fairytale.'

The couple spent all their free time together going on holidays and days out and even though they never married officially they held their own church dedication ceremony where they exchanged rings and vows.

A generous man, Roy celebrated his 95th birthday by donating £250 to Pendleside Hospice and £150 to the Richard Peck House in St Anne’s which offers respite care breaks for former RAF servicemen and their families.

Barbara moved over to Pendle last year to be closer to Roy after he suffered a heart attack. But he insisted on moving into the Hulton Care Home in Nelson where he died with Barbara at his side.

At his funeral tributes Roy had written himself to Barbara and all family and friends who had been part of his life were read out.