FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to a well-known local woman with a special final farewell.
The funeral of Janet Wheeldon, aged 79, took place at Carmountside Crematorium on Friday, October 25, with a convoy of Morgan sports cars.
Mourners filled the crematorium and Captain Frank McGregor led the tributes to Janet, whose wicker coffin was carreid into the crematorium to Mozart's ‘Requiem Lacrimosa’.
Janet was born on March 12, 1934. Her parents ran Endon Garage and from an early age Janet and her brothers and sisters helped serve and work in the facility.
It was here that she fell in love with cars and bikes and became known as a “petrol head”.
Scarlet Fever as a child later played a part to her adult health problems and she was often poorly.
When she was eight-years-old she was crowned Endon Well Dressing Queen.
She attended Westwood Grammar School and was an accomplished hockey player, playing for the school and county.
On her 21st birthday Janet's parents gave her an MG TC sports car in recognition of her hard work in the family business.
In later years she often saw an elderly woman driving a bright yellow Morgan, which she would often joke about, little knowing then that she would become that woman driving a 3.5 litre Morgan.
Janet was often likened to a “boy racer” and left many of her passengers with ashen faces.
She later trained as an orthopeadic nurse at the Royal Infirmary in Hartshill and met her late husband Peter, who she married in 1955, the same day as she received her results to become a qualified nurse.
The couple began their married life in Trentham before moving to Endon where they settled and raised their children Caroline, Rebecca and Richard.
She went on to work as a staff nurse and health educator in schools,and family life was happy with pets, horses and holidays.
Peter and Janet celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 1980, but a few years after Peter was diagnosed with cancer and died aged 54. He was a great character, respected businessman and well liked.
After his death Janet went to Tanzania to visit her sister and threw herself into social activities, organising events in her “bloody minded and stubborn” way.
She considered setting up a kennels, but instead took over Bagnall Post Office, which she ran for 18 years until she retired aged 70 in 2004.
She made an enormous contribution and service to village life, organising coach trips for poeple living in Endon, Stanley, Stockton Brook and Baddeley Green.
She began a Wednesday Club at Bagnall Village Hall as well as being involved in community events such as the Centenery Crowning of the Bagnall Chestnut Queen for the village fete and gala.
She was also an avid supporter of the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, who she volunteered for 20 years, and for which she was given an award. Morris Williams also paid tribute to Janet and the high esteem in which she was held by the Morgan sports car fraternity worldwide as the co-founder of The Morgan Sports Car Club Staffordshire Centre, attending and organising many succesful events, in particular an annual Gymkhana event in Endon.
Janet travelled all over Britain and Ireland, she was a mean driver who would not stand for any messing about.
Even after she had to give up her Morgan due to knee problems she remained active in the Morgan world.
Drawing the service to a close Richard Wheeldon read the poem ‘She Is Gone’ in dedication to his mum, the same which was read for the Queen Mother’s funeral in honour of her “being a bit of a royalist” and to make up for himself and his sisters ruining Janet's traditional enjoyment of the Queen’s speech one Christmas.
He said: “Mum was a one-off, kind and selfless. She was the one who made things happen and was strong minded.
“She was fun and pretty exceptional.
“We’re all proud that we can say she’s our mum and it seems totally unreal that she’s gone.”