Death of Ribble Valley jeweller Vera

Mrs Vera Wightman. (s)
Mrs Vera Wightman. (s)

TRIBUTES have been paid to well-known Ribble Valley jeweller Mrs Vera Wightman, who has died aged 80.

The greatly longed for only child of Emma and Dick Mitchell, Vera was born on June 13th, 1931, at the family home in Grafton Street, Clitheroe.

Throughout her education at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Vera was always known for her rebellious nature.

This maverick streak continued into her late teens with Vera deciding to run away to London at the age of 17!

On her return home she worked in Clitheroe’s Dewhurst’s cotton mill and then at Hillard’s supermarket on King Lane in the town, but always wanted to channel her energy into setting up her own business.

And with £600 in her pocket from her father, this is exactly what Vera did, setting up her first business, a second hand shop on Wellgate, Clitheroe, and then buying what was then Clitheroe’s Army and Navy Store in Shawbridge Street.

After “marrying in haste” when she was young and having a daughter Jackie, Vera married her second husband, Stan Wightman, three years later and it was Stan who managed the Shawbridge Street business as an antiques and clock shop.

With Stan, Vera had a son, Jeremy, and during the ’60s, when Vera’s businesses were really taking off, the family moved from Duck Street to Croasdale Drive, Clitheroe.

However, during this time, Vera heard she had been successful in her application for a stall on Blackburn Market and for the next 20 years she devoted her life to running her extremely popular and successful jewellery stall there.

Despite being attacked on her way home one night and losing all her stock, Vera always persevered and stoically carried on through any diversity. During the 1980s, this strength of character was tested to the limits as Vera nursed her husband Stan through several bouts of ill health until he passed away in 1989.

After leaving Blackburn Market, Vera helped her son with his jewellery shop, the Gem Service shop in Moor Lane, Clitheroe. Despite being officially retired at this stage, Vera who loved nothing more than interacting with the public, could not resist helping out in the shop.

Vera was devoted to her family and her three grandchildren, Daniel (30), Joshua (28) and Benjamin (25), have always been a big part of her life. She was also well travelled and enjoyed a cruise with her son, daughter and son-in-law two years ago.

It was only this year after Vera had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer that she was forced to slow down, with her daughter Jackie and son Jeremy nursing Vera at her home in Whalley until her death earlier this month.

A funeral was held at St Mary and All Saints Parish Church, Whalley, followed by burial at Whalley and Wiswell Cemetery and a wake at The Swan Hotel, Whalley.

Vera leaves behind her daughter Jackie, son Jeremy, son-in-law Ronnie, grandchildren Daniel, Joshua and Benjamin, great grandson Connor plus many dear friends.