Descendant of heating firm dies after illness

Special:Joan Caselton had a proud family history
Special:Joan Caselton had a proud family history
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The Doyen of the family which founded the historic Baxi Heating company has died.

Margaret Baxendale, who was known as Joan, grew up in Windsor Road in Chorley and played an active part in the life of the businesses founded by her great great-grandfather.

Her mother’s side of the family helped build some of the town’s landmarks, including the original district hospital in 1933.

Richard Baxendale & Sons started out as a foundry near Chorley Station and expanding into premises in Bamber Bridge in 1961.

By 1983 Baxi, as it was then known, employed more than 900 people and its boilers and fires were renowned worldwide.

The company was a major contributor to the area and still has a factory in Club Street in Bamber Bridge, employing 700 people, although the head office moved to Warwick in 2006.

Her son Charles described his mother as a “special woman” and added: “Alice and Richard, my mother’s parents, were both Baxendales - not related in the slightest - so I always feel I’ve got a good double dose of Lancashire practicality and common sense.”

Alice was President of the local Soroptomists.

Charles added: “My mother was actively involved with helping others throughout her life.

“She married my father in 1956 so left Chorley then, I imagine, although there will still be a large number of Baxendales in the North West.”

His parents moved to Malta in 1968, where they lived for four years, then Geneva for a year, followed by six years in France, near Evian. They moved to the Isle of Man in 1979 and later to Tenerife, where her widowed husband Ronald still lives.

Joan’s mother Alice was also a Baxendale and her grandfather John was responsible for the building of a number of local premises, including Chorley and District Hospital, Chorley Post Office and Trinity Methodist New School.

John also served three times on the former Chorley Town Council.

Joan leaves a husband of 56 years, Major Ronald Caselton, and children, Fiona and Charles. Charles was executive producer of Letters to Breshnev.