OBITUARY: Sarah Elizabeth (Betty) Whiteley

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Friends and neighbours in Wragby and district were sad to hear of the death at Lincoln County Hospital of Sarah Elizabeth Whiteley at the age 85. Betty as she was affectionately known to everyone was a widow, and is survived by her daughter Mary Salmon of Gainsborough, nine grandchildren plus great grandchildren , her son John having died prematurely some years ago.

She was born at Boylestone in Derbyshire in 1928 where she grew up as the youngest of a family of seven children. She was educated in the area and after leaving school came to Lincolnshire to work for the late Mr and Mrs Whiteley who were farming at Grange Farm, Harby where she was to meet her husband to be Ivo when he returned home after serving in the forces. He was the second son of the family and as love blossomed between the couple leading to their marriage at Newark in 1947, they made their first home on one of the family farms where their two children were born.

They then moved to Minting where Ivo had grown up, and lived in the village at Greenfield Farm Cottage, while he worked first for John Norcross and later Gwenda Bell.

A severe stroke in 1982 forced Ivo’s early retirement from the land and the couple’s next move to their bungalow home on Newton Close in Wragby, as he was left disabled and without use in his left side. He made a remarkable recovery after his life hung in the balance for two weeks with fears he would never regain consciousness, but long periods of physiotherapy and the devoted nursing care of Betty ensured life was as comfortable as possible. Their tremendous sense of humour helped them along when things got difficult and Betty dedicated her life to seeing to his every need, supported by family and carers, until he died suddenly following a further stroke in 2005.

They had enjoyed their Golden Wedding Anniversary in the same year as the Queen and Prince Philip and while they were unlucky in the draw for an invitation to the special Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, they received a letter signed by the Queen and two golden stamps which they treasured.

They settled happily in Wragby and both had enjoyed many happy hours with friends at the weekly meetings of the Newton Close Age Concern Group and the numerous activities and outings arranged by the warden Yvonne Blackburn for the members which they always appreciated. It provided them with an opportunity for a social life which would not otherwise have been possible and they were also longstanding members of the Wragby branch of Disability Lincs and attended the weekly craft classes on Tuesday mornings, later changing to social meetings at Wragby Town Hall. Transport was provided to ferry them there and the monthly social days involved ambulance coach outings during the summer and home cooked lunches during the winter which they always looked forward to. Betty continued to attend on her own for a time, making her home in the bungalow with the support of her family and neighbours until the sudden death of her son came as a huge shock from which she never fully recovered. Gradually as her health deteriorated and she needed professional nursing care she moved into Nightingale House at Bucknall where she spent the last year of her life before her final illness when she was taken into hospital.

The funeral service was held at Lincoln Crematorium with the Revd Mark Holden officiating and funeral arrangements carried out by the Lincolnshire Co-operative Society Limited.

Family mourners were: Mary Elizabeth Salmon (daughter); Jimmy and Anne Salmon, Janet and Shaun Cottard, Wendy Whiteley and Ian Coy, John Whiteley and Kayleigh Varley (grandchildren); Linda Whiteley (daughter-in-law); George Whiteley (brother-in-law); Mr and Mrs Alan Whiteley, Barbara, Val, Susan Clifton, Peter and Linda Wallis (nephews and nieces).

Friends present included Tony Willerton; Tony (Titch) Lee; Yvonne Blackburn (former Newton Close Warden and Age Concern Group activity organiser); Margaret Clark (Chairman of Newton Close Age Concern Group and member of the Wragby branch of Disability Lincs); Susan Wilson; Paula Wilson; Jane and Beverley (representing Nightingale House); Alice Hodgson (representing the Wragby branch of Disability Lincs) and others.