Tributes as Claughton’s ‘Mrs Michael’ laid to rest

Funeral: The coffin was carried in by Edie's grandsons and the estate foreman
Funeral: The coffin was carried in by Edie's grandsons and the estate foreman

There was standing room only at St Thomas the Apostle Church at Claughton on Brock on Monday when the much loved Edie Fitzherbert-Brockholes was laid to rest.

More than 300 people turned out to say a final farewell at the Requiem Mass for 91-year-old Edie - known locally as “Mrs Michael”.

Funeral: Edie Fitzherbert-Brockholes

Funeral: Edie Fitzherbert-Brockholes

She had been a key figure in local, parish and public life in the county for decades as part of the local landowning Fitzherbert-Brockholes family, which owns the large Claughton estate, and was the widow of the late County Councillor Michael Fitzherbert-Brockholes. Together they had four sons Francis, Antony, Simon and William.

Speaking this week Francis recalled her many local roles, saying: “She was very much involved in the Claughton WI and also in the Lancashire Women’s Institutes, she was on Lancaster Unviersity Council and was President of the Lancashire Scouts and the Lancashire Young Farmers.”

He added: “She had been getting frailer and frailer. She died peacefully in her chair by the fire.”

Edie had been a governor of several schools and was a great supporter of the Lancashire Schools Symphony Orchestra. In the 1990s, together with her husband and the then parish priest, she helped ensure a series of concerts were performed at St Thomas the Apostle church featuring the orchestra.

She was also a founder member of the Garstang WI Market, now known as the Country Market.

The service was taken by parish priest Father Anthony Keefe. Edie’s niece Christianne Pollen read a moving tribute to her aunt, penned by Francis, a city lawyer, in which he spoke of his mother’s devotion to her husband and family and her selfless life of service to others.

Special thanks were given to Clinice Blake who lived with his parents for more than 40 years and had tended to Edie in her final moments.

Edie was carried to her final resting place beside her beloved Michael by her five grandsons and the Claughton Estate foreman Mr Chris Gornall. They were followed by her sons and their wives, her only granddaughter, two great granddaughters, two grandsons’ wives, her sister, her 30 nephews and nieces, local friends and representatives from the organisations she had been associated with.

The Fitzherbert family has connections with the area going back to the 14th century. Mrs Fitzherbert-Brockholes came from a notable family her mother was Lady Dorothie Feilding, the second daughter of the 9th Earl of Denbigh and her father Captain Charles Moore was from an Irish landed family.