The Home Page of

Janice and David Swindlehurst

of "The Towers at Lea"

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This page was last updated on 4th October 2016.
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This page is not a blog. Our daily doings are of no interest to anyone but ourselves and our close family. The intention here is to make available to the people involved the pictures of their involvement in our lives - pictures taken by happy snapppers recording the occasional highlight.

To view the pictures, click here.

My maternal grandfather Herbert Watson Atkinson was killed on the evening of 14th September 1916, at Flers, during a night attack in preparation for a major assault by British forces against Thiepval ridge. His remains have never been identified. His name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, as well as in the Harris Library and Museum at Preston. A description of the events of that fateful day can be read here. A brief Life, with details of the events following his death, is here

I have been determined that we should remember and acknowledge the sacrifice that he (and the rest of us as a result) made, so I decided to be in France and Belgium on the 100th anniversary of his death, as a mark of respect. I invited my siblings to accompany me but they were unable to travel, for health reasons, so in the event the party consisted of Janice and me, my daughter Kate and my nephew Michael Hickey. On Monday 12th September we travelled by Virgin and Eurostar trains to Brussels and then by local train to Ypres, where we stayed 3 nights in a splendid hotel (the Ariane).

On Tuesday 13th we visited Flers (and Bulls Road cemetery), Thiepval (for the Monument to the Fallen) and numerous other cemeteries and locations. In the evening we attended the nightly Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. On Wednesday 14th we visited the wonderful Museum in the rebuilt Cloth Hall in Ypres in the morning and in the afternoon more sites and monuments, including Tyne Cot and Passchendaele cemeteries and the German cemetery at Langemark. In the evening we again attended the Last Post ceremony, this time as participants, laying a wreath in memory of Bert. (There is no equivalent ceremony at Thiepval).

To see the still photographs

Somme stills

and the videos

wreath video

click the pix.


Herbert Watson Atkinson

14th September 1916.

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On Thursday 15th we returned home, having had a different but significant holiday experience.

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Our lives over the last 12 months or so have consisted of routine domesticity - Janice's health having precluded us from doing anything exciting. As a result there has been nothing worthy of note, apart from her attendance at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for a cardioversion procedure (literally a heart-stopping event), several admissions to A&E at Royal Preston and a continuous attendance at our health centre. She now awaits a catheter ablation procedure, which (we hope) will return her to something approaching good health and will take place soon. Don't hold your breath.
In the 18 months since the last update life has been less than easy - particularly for Janice, who has suffered a series of fairly serious and unpleasant health problems. This has culminated in her being diagnosed with a failing heart, which necessitated us cancelling a long-booked holiday to Crete because of the withdrawal of her approval to fly. She is now awaiting a consultation with a cardiologist, which we hope will provide some hope of a better future.
The holiday at Christmas was great but we have both enjoyed the worst respiratory infection we have ever had, following the dreadful flight home. I have had 2 courses of anti-biotic treatment, together with 2 sprays, and am still struggling to breathe. Janice has also developed symptoms. In spite of these problems we visited Tamworth overnight on the 18th January to help my cousin Richard celebrate his 60th birthday. We hadn't met for 38 years! We enjoyed the "do" on Saturday and on Sunday visited the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas. This was disappointing, partly because we weren't really up to it and partly because a lot of the Memorials were inaccessible, being under water following all the rain. We'll go again, in better conditions.
On 27th November Janice underwent the long-awaited knee repair operation as a day patient at Chorley Hospital. It was a long day but successful, and her knee is now as good as new (almost). So we were able to go to Tenerife for another fortnight's holiday, this time from 13th December to the 27th. The holiday was excellent but the flight home a nightmare. We were diverted to Manchester and then bussed to Blackpool. The replacement aircraft sent for us should have been in the hangar for major overhaul! Let's hope that 2014 is a big improvement on 2013.
On 6th September we flew to Tenerife for a 2-week break - the holiday we should have had in June which was delayed owing to Janice's incarceration in RPH and the follow-on. The weather was excellent, but our movements were restricted by Janice's knee, which is awaiting surgery - now imminent. Only 4 hospital appointments in the next 2 weeks! We will then need another holiday.

Saturday 31st August was Janice's 75th birthday and the Seeds (Margaret and Les) with immense generosity laid on a Birthday Tea for her and a small number of friends and relatives at their home. Pix below.

started off badly (see below) and went steadily downhill thereafter. The worst bit, for us personally, was Janice's period in the Royal Preston Hospital, where (on Sunday 14th April) we nearly lost her - lungs full of water and no oxygen. It has taken until now (2nd September) for her to regain something like normality, and it's not over yet. 2014 has to be better.

On Thursday 3rd January 2013 our daughter-in-law (to be) Sue finally lost her battle against cancer, a battle which she fought with courage, determination and her beautiful smile. The photographs below are no substitute.

We have been helping the Wilson clan to entertain family visitors from Pittsburgh, USA. For details of our adventures click here

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To access information about the origin of our family name click Swindlehurst.

A brief "Life of Edith Swindlehurst (1899 - 1990)" is here.

A brief Life of Bert Swindlehurst (1898 - 1977) is here.

A brief "Life of Geoff Swindlehurst (1926 - 1969)" is here.

Jack Atkinson (son of Edith's brother Bill, and our cousin) prepared a memoire of his life - see here

Contact us at The Towers at Lea