Vera Miriam Wardle, aka Grumpy, whose graveside funeral service and committal took place on 2nd December 2020
Vera was born in Tranmere, Birkenhead in 1929, the second child of John & Miriam Cropper. Childhood during the war years was tough, especially during the Liverpool Blitz and the frequent bombing of Cammell Lairds Shipyard just along the riverbank from her home. Vera left school at 15 and went to work in the Birkenhead Courts of Justice then the typing pool at Lever Brothers, Port Sunlight. She worked her way up to personal secretary of the Chairman. It was at work that she met Eric William Wardle, they married in 1959 at the Church in Port Sunlight. Unfortunately, in 1959, company policy forbade the employment of married women so she worked for the police until she had her first child, Tracey in 1961 followed by Dianne in 1964.
In 1971 she left her beloved Merseyside. Eric was made redundant and put his redundancy money towards the purchase of the village shop & Post Office in Long Marton. He had been told about it by a work contact, Jack Holdsworth who lived in Brampton. It was a pretty traumatic change, but after overcoming quite a few language issues (the Westmorland dialect was quite different to the Scouse one), she grew to love life in the village. Vera enjoyed the banter and friendships that surrounded the job. She dealt compassionately with young & old alike - helping, advising, being a shoulder to cry on and generally caring for people as best she could. Vera’s mum came up from Tranmere for a visit and never left, she spent the last few years of her life living with Vera & the girls in Long Marton and later Vera’s god-mother, Carrie Mace, also made the move to be cared for by Vera.
Vera would often be seen walking the dog around Knock Cross, down to Powis or just up to the Church if time was short. She loved the fells that overlook the Eden Valley and also the Lakeland Fells. But, her real place of peace was beside water; ideally the sea or ocean with the sound of breakers on the beach & gulls in the air.
Vera was quite well travelled having visited her brother & family in Australia. Each time Vera & Dianne went they had great fun planning a different route so the journey was always great fun and an important part of the trip.They visited Vancouver, Hawaii, Fiji, The Cook Islands, Auckland & Singapore. Travelling both west & then east around the world.
After a massive stroke in 1996, Dianne took on the role of carer. They made the difficult decision to shut the shop in 1997, 26 years after arriving in the village. Vera never regained full fitness but her mantra was ‘use it or lose it’. She would often walk around the block with ‘her wheels’ or to the P.O. van where she enjoyed meeting up with other villagers for a chat. Latterly it became too dangerous for her to do this as both her sight and hearing failed.
For nearly 24 years Vera & Dianne have dealt with adversity. Vera bore her increasing health issues without complaint. Right up to the last few days of her life she laughed, smiled, dished out hilarious one liners and still cared for others as best she could. She was the glue that held friends and family together. Vera had two very special friends from her childhood that she kept close touch with for over 75 years until they passed. When people called her first words were invariably: ‘Hello, and how’s your belly off for spots?’ …...
Vera was incredibly proud of her grandson, Ben. When he visited as a child she often used to take him out on her wheels, using them as a pushchair. When she wanted him to do something the catchphrase was ‘go on Ben, I’ll give you a shillin’ when you’re 21’. Years before his 21st birthday she’d written his card and enclosed a shilling, just in-case! Fortunately, she was able to hand it over in person, determined to give him his much promised shilling and to keep her word.
Vera’s smile would light up a room and she would engage with any visitor in an unassuming, friendly, playful manner - especially if that visitor was male!! Carers in the last few weeks were amazed by her resilience and enjoyed coming in for a bit of banter. She rarely complained and if she felt ill or in pain wouldn’t let on. A real trooper to the end.
It wasn’t until we read the tributes on social media and cards that we realised how much of an impression Vera had made on people or how many ‘adopted grandchildren’ she had aquired. Memories shared were of her heart of gold, contagious smile, laughter & dry wit, unique outlook on life, great wisdom & integrity, her patience when youngsters with a couple of pennies came into the shop for a ‘look in the box’ and left with a bag of goodies after spending ages making their choices as well as her care of older members of the village as they shopped for breakfast, dinner & tea…………..
A much loved lady!