THE funeral of Viscountess Whitelaw, who has died aged 94, will be held on Friday.

Lady Celia Whitelaw, the widow of William Whitelaw, the former Home Secretary and MP for Penrith and the Border, was a prominent supporter of Cumbrian charities and a very keen gardener.

She was born Celia Sprot and brought up in the Scottish Borders, where she first met her future husband, who as a young man regularly visited the area to hunt.

During the Second World War she served in the ATS. She married Mr Whitelaw, then an officer in the Scots Guards, in 1943. The couple had four daughters , Susan, Carol, Mary and Pamela.

Major Whitelaw resigned his commission at the end of the war to manage the family estates in Lanarkshire. He was elected MP for Penrith and the Border in 1955, serving the constituency for 28 years. He was appointed Viscount Whitelaw in 1983 and died in 1999.

As a devoted gardener, Lady Whitelaw served as an official of the Lakeland Horticultural Society and was a vice-president of Penrith and District Gardeners’ and Allotment Holders’ Association.

She worked tirelessly for charities, including the Cumbrian branch of Barnardo’s, of which she was for many years a patron.

She was president of the county branch of the Red Cross and supported other charities, including the Eden Valley Hospice.

Lady Whitelaw’s other interests included dogs and horse racing.

Following her husband’s death she moved from Eden to Peebles. She is survived by her daughters. She had 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Her funeral service tomorrow is at 2pm at St Andrew’s Church, Dacre, where she was a long-standing member of the congregation and where her husband is buried.