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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Obituary - Dorothy Collister, of Cockermouth

A Cockermouth landlady who ran three West Cumbrian pubs has died aged 82.

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LANDLADY: Dorothy Collister running the Wheatsheaf Inn, Lorton, left, and with husband Derrick when they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on April 4 last year

Dorothy Collister, of Richmond Park Care Home, Workington, died on January 22.

She had run The Lime Kiln Inn at Brigham, the Lowther Arms in Cockermouth and The Wheatsheaf Inn at Lorton before retiring in 1991.

She was born in Great Broughton in 1931 to parents Tyson and Mary Burridge, who ran the Lime Kiln Inn.

Her mother died when she was 11 years old, and about three years later she helped her father at the pub as well as helping look after her younger brother Tyson, who went on to set up the successful West Cumbrian haulage business Tyson Burridge.

Mrs Collister helped her brother during the early days of the business, making meals for the drivers before they went on long journeys, but soon she gravitated to the pub industry.

Her daughter Sally Burrow, 57, of Ellerbeck Lane, Workington, said: “Her whole world changed when her mum died as she became a mother as well as helping out working at the pub.

“She was a very bright child when she was at school and left a year early.”

Mrs Collister went to school in Brigham where she met her husband Derrick, known as Derry, before moving on to Cockermouth Grammar School.

She went to the local youth club at St Bridget’s Church, Brigham, and Mr Collister recalled their first date together.

He said: “I asked to walk her home one night but I was a bit dubious at first.

“Dorothy had washed her hair with vinegar to try and make it shine so she did smell a bit.”

The couple met on April 4, got engaged on the same date and also married on that date in 1953 at St Bridget’s Church.

The couple took over the Lime Kiln in 1958 after Mrs Collister’s father died and then moved to the Lowther Arms, on Gote Road, Cockermouth, in 1963 which they ran for 10 years.

Mrs Burrow said: “When she was at the Lowther Arms it was probably the happiest part of her life.

“She loved the pub and the community around there because it was almost like a little village who all used to go to the pub.

“When the road was flooded the pub survived so she invited everybody who was affected and cooked food for them.

“It was a great community down there and the support we got was fantastic.

“She didn’t really want to leave, but the Wheatsheaf was a very good business opportunity, and on her last night I think everybody in the pub cried.”

However, when they moved in they were thrown in right at the deep end.

She said: “Mum could see the potential in the pub and we moved in on December 19.

“We found out the Melbreak Boxing Day hunt started from the pub every year so we were all up on Christmas night making around 150 tattie pots for when all the people came back from the hunt and then the BBC turned up to film us on the day.”

Mrs Collister ran the pub side of the things while her husband ran a caravan site at the back of the building.

Mrs Collister was a very talented musician and played piano from an early age as well as being in the church choir.

She won many competitions, was awarded certificates from the Royal School of Music and won many local music festivals and held a music night at the Wheatsheaf every Saturday.

She also played with her husband at Brigham tennis club and cared for her dogs.

Mrs Burrow added: “My mother was a character and was always in charge.

“Even though she was little she was a very strong woman and you would never cross her.

“She ran a tight pub and nobody could use bad language and she couldn’t stand bad behaviour and if you crossed a line you were shown the door.”

Mrs Collister retired in 1991 and moved to live at Cedar Lane, Cockermouth, before she started to suffer with dementia. She moved to Workington to be nearer her family and then into the Richmond Park care home.

Mrs Collister leaves behind her husband, two daughters Sally and Linda, three grandchildren Amy, Katy and Rachel and son-in-laws Andrew and Ian.

Her funeral is due to take place today at St Bridget’s Church, Brigham, at 11am, and all donations can be made to Richmond Park care home.

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