The Inn at Whitewell (Duchy of Lancaster)

River Hodder

When Paul and I fell in love we used to spend hours driving around the Lancashire and Yorkshire countryside – until my pelvis fractured when my recurring bowel cancer became metastatic and spread to the bone. Bumping along in his Suzuki Jeep was not the most comfortable place to be! But eventually I made a recovery and we were back on the road again. We would picnic on tuna and sweet corn sandwiches with crisps – washed down with coffee from a flask. He would often stop, grab his sketchbook and pencil and draw a row of telegraph poles, clumps of grass or a dry stone wall. He was very much a landscape artist and it was so good to see him working again – after years of neglecting his artwork.

On occasions he would drive by the Inn at Whitewell, nestled in the heart of rural Lancashire and overlooking the River Hodder. This is where he promised we would spend a few days after our wedding. Although we sometimes stopped outside he never actually took me in and it seemed he was saving it for that special occasion – an occasion that sadly was never to happen.

On summer solstice last year I was invited by two of my friends, Ina & Norman, to the Inn at Whitewell, for dinner and I have just rediscovered the photos, which I would like to share with you.

My hosts, Norman & Ina
Norman & Me
The Inn at Whitewell

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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

2 thoughts on “The Inn at Whitewell (Duchy of Lancaster)”

  1. Hi Willo
    These are super shots of our Whitewell Estate! I would really like to use a hi res version of this image in our (Duchy of Lancaster) Annual Report this year. Is that something you could help me with please? Time as usual is of the essence so if you could let me know soonest I’d be very grateful!
    Many thanks
    Debbie Garritty
    Head of Comms, Duchy of Lancaster


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