Former Lakes physio and keen gardener Joan Whitworth dies aged 95



First published in News

THE former Ambleside physio-therapist and keen horticulturalist Joan Whitworth has died at the age of 95.

Joan, the youngest daughter of Major John Haworth Whitworth and his wife Ida Mary, was born at Elleray, Windermere, at the very end of the First World War – the year in which both her father and his younger brother were killed in the conflict.

She and her three elder sisters lived with their mother at Bowdon, Cheshire, and spent considerable time in Switzerland at Kandersteg and at Alassio in Italy.

From 1923, the family lived at Broad Ings, at the northern end of Windermere, and Joan attended Fairfield School in Ambleside before having governesses.

She later went to St Leonard’s School in St Andrew’s, following her mother and elder sisters, and became captain of house for sport in Bishophall West.

In 1932, the family moved to Highgate, London, and in 1938 north again to Disley, Cheshire, where Joan trained as a physiotherapist at Manchester Royal Hospital. She then went to work for two years at Leeds General Infirmary.

After joining the Red Cross in 1944, she worked at hospitals in Naples and Ancona in Italy and at Bertesee in Austria.

Following the end of the war, she worked in a convalescent home for officers at Belden near Klagenfurt, Austria.

She returned to England and set up her own physiotherapy practice in Ambleside, which she ran for almost 30 years.

When not working, Joan enjoyed fell walking and travelling – especially to Switerland – along with photography and gardening.

She was a lifelong Quaker and staunch supporter of Colthouse, the Meeting House where her parents had been married in 1913. When she moved to Gatesbield, the Quaker sheltered home in Windermere, she was able to keep up with many ex-patients and friends, and to continue her gardening activities at Holehird, the Lake District Horticultural Society’s garden.

She was also a keen supporter of the Lakeland Housing Trust, the Armitt Library and the Lake Artists Exhibitions.

Politically, she was a lifelong Liberal, as generations of her family had been before her.

Joan’s later years were clouded by a failing memory but she kept up her cheerful spirit and sense of humour to the end.

She died peacefully in hospital in Barrow-in-Furness on June 5 after a short illness.

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