Baker Betty’s widower Barry launches Sunflower Appeal 2021

A former Rolls-Royce worker, who cared for his wife for eight years while she was suffering from motor neurone disease, has called on Burnley and Pendle people to support Pendleside Hospice’s Sunflower Memory Appeal 2021.

Barry Wordsworth, 75, of Barnoldswick, made the plea just months after his wife Betty, one of the last Lancashire Oat Cake bakers in the country, passed away just before Christmas.

The Sunflower Memory Appeal invites people to celebrate the life of a loved one by dedicating a sunflower plaque in the hospice’s gardens at Reedley. The name of the love one – or loved ones – will be handwritten on the plaque and displayed throughout the summer.

Barry, a keen rambler for many years, said: “I will be supporting the appeal in memory of my wife Betty. During the years she was ill we both received so much love and comfort from the hospice. Everyone there became like family to us.

“Betty spent many happy hours visiting day care and last year spent several weeks respite in the inpatients’ unit and then, again, later in the year spent more than a month on the ward.

“When we first attended the hospice the people there said they would not only look after the well-being of Betty but for me as well, and that is how it always was. It is such a fantastic place.

“Even during this year of Covid the nursing staff have worked above and beyond to care for patients and their families. I can’t praise Pendleside enough.”

Sammi Graham, head of events and fundraising officer, said: “Due to Covid the hospice may not be able to publicly host its Celebration Of Life Service in the gardens but, if  the restrictions are still in place, people will be able to watch the service streamed on the Pendleside Facebook page at 2pm on Saturday, June 5.

“We would really like to thank Barry so much for his support. We were all very sad to hear of Betty’s passing in December.”

Betty, who was 76, ran Stanley’s Crumpets bakery,  Barnoldswick, during the 1990s supplying crumpets, oat cakes and other delicacies to shops, market stalls and pubs.

To remind you what a Lancashire Oat Cake is, do you remember stew and hard? Well, the oat cake was the thin oaty bread that the beef jellied stew was wrapped in.

Betty and her staff used to make 10 dozen oat cakes a day and were filmed making them on BBC TV’s Food And Drink programme.

In her late 60s she started to speak with a lisp and had difficulty eating some foods and in 2013 she was diagnosed with bulbar palsy motor neurone disease. In the few years before her death she was unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair.

Barry, who worked as a polisher during his days at Rolls Royce and also ran the factory’s ramblers’ club, said: “Motor neurone is a terrible disease but Pendleside alleviated what both Betty and I were suffering by the care they gave us. Betty loved her visits to the hospice. It’s such a pity Covid-19 has seen the temporary closure of the day services unit because the staff there were wonderful.”

If you wish to dedicate a sunflower to a loved one call Pendleside’s fundraisers on 01282 440120.

Last year the hospice’s gardens ‘bloomed’ with over 900 sunflower plaques and raised more than £21,000. In return for a donation people get a loved-one’s name on a plaque, a sunflower card, and a voucher for an enamel sunflower pin badge.

The Pendleside Sunflower Memory Appeal 2021 is sponsored by Alderson and Horan Funeral Services, Burnley.