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Pendle wife dies in smash on 65th wedding anniversary
A ‘DEVOTED’ great grandma has died and her husband broke his neck in a horror smash on the couple’s 65th wedding anniversary.
Norah Graham was a front seat passenger in the car being driven by her husband Stewart when it crashed in Barrowford Road, Fence.
The Accrington couple, described as soulmates, were taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital with serious injuries but Mrs Graham, 85, died a short time later.
They are thought to have been on their way home from a celebratory lunch when the crash happened at 1.35pm on Wednesday.
Yesterday their heartbroken daughter Eileen De-Maine, 65, paid tribute to her mum, describing her as a ‘devoted’ family woman.
Eileen said her dad, 85, who suffered a broken neck in the crash, was awake and talking, but had yet to be told of his wife’s death.
Eileen, of Ribblesdale Avenue, Accrington, said: “My dad’s conscious but agitated and keeps looking for my mum.
“We were going to keep it from him for a while, but he will not stop asking until he finds out.
“They have been together so long. They were soul mates. I don’t know how my dad’s going to take it. They were absolutely devoted to each other.
“I am so saddened by our loss, but I know mum has gone to a better place.”
Born and raised in Oswaldtwistle, Mrs Graham worked at Foxhall Bank, Oswaldtwistle Co-operative, RG Smith and in catering at Accrington Victoria Hospital.
She married Mr Graham, a planning engineer for British Aerospace, at St Mary’s RC Church in 1946 and the couple set up home in Whalley Road, Accrington.
The couple took early retirement in their early 50s and rented a house in Clitheroe before moving to Fence.
On Wednesday, Mrs De-Maine said she spoke to her mum in the morning to wish her a happy anniversary.
She said: “I rang up and she was full of joy, saying they were thinking of going out for a meal. They loved little snacks out.
“That could have been where they were coming back from. They used to like The Stork Hotel in Simonstone.”
The Grahams’ grey Vauxhall Astra was heading in the direction of Nelson when it collided with a red Vauxhall Astra travelling in the opposite direction.
Police are investigating what caused the crash.
Mrs Graham was known locally as a keen baker, who liked to feed the birds and attend matches at Accrington Cricket Club with her husband.
“They had been managing very well in Fence. They loved their little council flat,” said Mrs De-Maine.
Shocked villagers in Fence yesterday expressed their condolences for Mrs Graham’s family.
Brian Newman, chairman of Old Laund Booth Parish Council, said he attended the scene of the accident.
He said: “I knew her and know him well. They brought their car to our garage and they both used to come to my wife’s salon to get their hair done.
“He is quite a character and is always wandering about the village talking to people.
“She was very kind-hearted. If you went to her house you would end up with a bun or a cup of tea. It’s a very sad way to end a life.”
Coun John David, who lives in Fence, said: “They were a lovely couple actually and I think it’s a tragedy.
“I met them around the village frequently and they were always happy to stop and have a chat. They were both very friendly.
“They lived opposite the village hall and used to come there, they were quietly involved in the community. It is very very sad. ”
Mrs Graham also leaves son Paul, a brother, daughter-in-law, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
A post mortem examination was due to take place yesterday.
Following the crash, the 52-year-old female driver of the red Astra and a passenger were taken to hospital with whiplash but were later discharged.
Anybody with any information is asked to contact police on 08451 25 35 45 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111