Warm tributes were paid to Arthur Jackson, Whaley Bridge’s writer and carpenter, who has died aged 99. The Uniting Church was packed for his memorial service, led by the minister Rev Michael Peat.
Brian Jackson – one of 37 cousins Arthur had in his birth village of Kettleshulme – recalled his service at the Botany Works in Whaley Bridge, where Arthur worked for 32 years.
In one of his books, Arthur had recalled the time in the mid-90s when the Botany Mill, once one of four in Whaley Bridge, closed:
“I stood in my garden looking across to Ladder Hill … for many years I have seen from this vantage point many happenings and overheard the circling planes awaiting their call to land at Manchester Airport. Here I have felt the sun warming up our countryside and, in autumn, days, seen the changing colours of the Taxal woods: in winter, witnessed the darkening sky which foretold the approaching snowstorm from the Kinder moorland.
“Yet that evening I saw a different scene, one which would cause great distress and hardship for many of our town’s people. The Botany Works which has been worked for 150 years, had become silent and deserted – no lights, no sound of running motors, no hissing steam; a sight which gives an uncanny feeling.”
John Brogden, a former manager of Whaley Bridge FC, recalled Arthur’s football playing back in the 20s. He mentioned that Arthur’s death came shortly before the recent visit to Whaley Bridge FC by FA chairman David Bernstein. There was a one minute’s silence for Arthur before an exhibition game.
Nye Rowland, who edited Arthur’s many writings into several books, all local bestsellers and charity raisers, said: “He wrote as he spoke. He conveyed emotion, humour, tragedy. His battered dictionary served him well. He was a treasure of the community.”
Whaley Bridge Library has copies of Arthur’s books, now out of print. Any one of them is worth reading for their perceptive and human stories.