A Cheshire family celebrates, mourns and remembers

2018 has proved to be a year of mixed emotions for Henry Hesketh and his family; a year of celebrations, traumatic loss and remembrance.

John Doyle in uniform-Mary and Ruth Spiers-with their nephew Henry Hesketh to the rear. John Doyle in uniform-Mary and Ruth Spiers-with their nephew Henry Hesketh to the rear.

Like most grandfathers, eighty-three-year-old Henry Hesketh is very proud of his family; his elders, his children, his grandchildren and those who are no longer with us.

Take his aunts – Dorothy, Mary and Ruth Spiers. Between the two world wars, all three sisters had boyfriends and were looking forward to starting families of their own once hostilities ceased.

Unfortunately, none of the boyfriends survived World War II and the sisters were left to mourn their losses.

After the war, the three sisters did not marry and, instead, decided to live happily together, which they continued to do until the sad death of Dorothy, in June of this year, at the age of 91 years.

This year has been both traumatic and happy for the family. Mary became a centurion in the year when we are commemorating the end of the first world war, 100 years ago.

The sisters cherish their hero father William’s memory and his WWI medals, one of which is the Military Medal. The Military Medal (or MM) is a medal awarded to the other ranks (N.C.O.’s and men) in recognition of exceptional bravery and was first instituted in 1916, to recognise bravery in battle.

In August, the sisters’ nephew, Henry, organised a family lunch to celebrate Mary’s 100th birthday, when five generations enjoyed a lunch at Wilmslow Garden Centre.

Mary Spiers , Henry Hesketh, great grandchildren Sienna White and Zack White, grandchild Georgia Hesketh, Tina Nicholson, Henry's daughter and Ruth Spiers. Mary Spiers , Henry Hesketh, great grandchildren Sienna White and Zack White, grandchild Georgia Hesketh, Tina Nicholson, Henry’s daughter and Ruth Spiers.

Staff kindly decorated a wheel chair with balloons and fresh flowers and a great time was had by all from Mary at 100, down to Sienna, the youngest family member present at 4 years of age.

More recently, Mary and Ruth were visited by John Doyle. John is a member of a re-enactment group that represents the Cheshire regiment 1914-1918. He arrived dressed in the uniform of the WW1 soldiers.

Their faces lit up when they saw John and lots of fond memories came flooding back, which they shared with the family.

“It was a lovely day.” Henry told us.

In November, John will be travelling to Ypres in Belgium to participate in official remembrance events.

Like many Cheshire families, Henry Hesketh and his family have set aside some time this year to ensure the brave men and women who lost their lives during the two world wars are remembered.

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