Tributes to Brierfield woman Vera Watson who has died at the age of 89

Tributes have been paid to a popular Brierfield woman who was well known throughout Burnley and Pendle.
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Mrs Vera Watson (née Buchanan) died in hospital at the age of 89 after a full life in which she loved to work, travel and spend time with her family.

Mother to Paul, Kath and Vicki, Mrs Watson also leaves five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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Vera met future husband Ronald when they were students at Nelson Grammar School. Among a group of friends who went dancing, they eventually became a couple and after several years of courting were married in June,1955, at St Philip's Church, Nelson.

Mrs Vera Watson and her childrenMrs Vera Watson and her children
Mrs Vera Watson and her children

For the first couple of years of married life they lived in Chapelhouse Road, but moved into their own first home in Ethersall Road shortly before eldest child Paul was born in 1957.

Paul said: “Mum attended the Brunswick Street church since she was a child, and later dad and us children became involved with the church.

“Dad was the Cub leader and mum helped run the Guides, also taking over running the Brownie pack at the nearby Bradshaw Street Methodist Church when it was in danger of closing. They were both also involved with various church activities, such as pantomimes, gang shows and walking days.

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Nelson woman Vera WatsonNelson woman Vera Watson
Nelson woman Vera Watson
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“Prior to starting a family, mum worked on the switchboard at Richard Haighton’s, and then at the Victory V factory.

“She later took up a post in the typing pool at Smith and Nephew’s Brierfield Mills. She stayed there for 11 years before moving to another textile firm, William Reed/Charles Clay in Nelson.

“She then joined the police as a civilian, first at Nelson, and then as PA to the police commander at Burnley, and held several other senior civilian roles during her 22 years, carrying out important tasks such as helping with royal visits.

“During much of her working life she also had to support dad during his ill health. At the age of 42 he had cancer, needed to have his bladder removed and consequently suffered from major health problems and had to retire early.

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“She not only gave support to dad, but also others in similar situations. Dad became the first chairman of the local branch of the Urinary Conduit Association and mum was secretary, accompanying him on visits to offer reassurance to those about to undergo the same operation.

“Mum didn't retire until she was 65, and despite dad’s ill health they enjoyed holidays all over Europe and the Far East and had been planning in retirement to continue and extend their travelling. But it was not to be. Shortly after mum retired, dad's health again took a turn for the worse and, sadly, he passed away in 2000.

“However, mum was determined to remain as active as possible. She worked in the WRVS shop at Burnley General Hospital and became involved with Nelson United Reformed Church, running the luncheon club. She was also a volunteer at Whitefield Infant School, assisting children with reading.

“She embarked on many foreign adventures (solo often) to such far-flung places as Australia, Canada, South Africa, China. Sri Lanka, Hawaii and Russia.”

Her funeral will be held on Thursday at Cornerstone Church, Netherfield Road, Nelson, at 11am followed by cremation at Burnley at 12-15pm and a wake at Burnley Rugby Club.