Arthur Jackson, well-known local writer in Whaley Bridge and Kettleshulme, has died, shortly after becoming 99. The funeral has taken place in Cardiff, where he died at his son’s home. There will be a memorial service at the Uniting Church, Whaley Bridge at 11am on Thursday 12 May.
One of Arthur’s last appearances was in December at the Whaley Churches Together Lunch Club’s Christmas meal. He was in good form, toasting friends and announcing “I am going to be 99 in February.” He was so alert and fit that most of his friends would have expected him to reach 100 – and write about it! In recent years he would still walk from his home on steep Macclesfield Road, but take the bus back.
Over the years, Arthur’s books were a local phenomenon, selling through just a few outlets. He was a regular contributor to the parish magazine. His stories were often short and full of nostalgia or his childhood days in Kettleshulme. One of his pieces talked about families still mourning their lost men from World War I, w ith others living through an era of high unemployment. But through it all, Christmas was still Christmas for the children, with ‘the cream cakes of blessed memory’ at parties.
In his last article for the parish magazine, only published in May, he wrote: “Looking back, I find that so many things I fought for have been achieved. I am proud to have played my modest part in all this by having been local secretary of my union – the Associated Society of Woodworkers. We fought against great odds, but finally won the day.”
He often used poetry as he signed off an article. In the last one it was these lines from Tennyson:
Tears, idle tears. I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair…