Village pays tribute to popular business owner, mum and friend Janis Whitlock

Janis Whitlock was at the heart of village life in Ribchester for decades and after her death at the age of 63 after a short illness her family and friends were determined to give her a memorable farewell.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 3:04 pm
Janis Whitlock who has died at the age of 63

Residents lined the streets of a Lancashire village to say farewell to local business owner and popular resident Janis Whitlock.

Covid restrictions meant that only a limited number of people could attend her funeral.

But the socially distanced tribute was a mark of the affection the community had for Janis, who ran Richester Taste Buds sandwich shop and cafe and had provided an external catering service for parties and events for many years.

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Janis pictured standing by the Tastebuds van she used for outside catering jobs

The 63 year died from cancer on February 19 just weeks after being diagnosed in January after becoming unwell before Christmas.

The mother of two and grandmother of three had requested a white horse and carriage for her funeral procession and chose a sparkly platinum coffin. She had also requested a pair of her highest heels be placed on top of the coffin.

Her wishes were honoured on Saturday at a service at St Wilfrid's CE church in Ribchester. As the cortege wound its way from her home in the village it detoured along Blackburn Road, pausing at her shop, Janis's/ Ribchester Taste Buds, where many bouquets had been placed and the shop window had been decorated in her honour.

Numerous tributes have already been paid online to Janis and hundreds of pounds were raised for two cancer charities within days of her death.

Proud mum - Janis pictured with daughter Nicola

Her daughter Nicola Ramsay said: "It's really comforting. I've had so many nice messages and so much support from people...Everyone has a really nice memory of her. She was always involved in everything. She always had a smile for everyone, always chatted to everyone, she was like that. She was busy all the time and happy to be busy. She wasn't really a drinker, but she was first on the dance floor."

Above all she said Janis had always been there for her and her brother Adam Whitlock ,who runs his own business The Furniture Tailor in Longridge. Nicola, a physiotherapist, said Janis would always be remembered "as the best mum in the world" adding: " She was fun, she was loving. She loved to laugh and she was very cuddly."

Janis was born in Blackburn where her parents Alicia and Fred ran a children's clothing business called Janis Lorraine, named after their youngest child.

The family moved to Ribchester when she was eight and she later attended St Wilfrid's CE school in the village and Longridge High, leaving at the age of 15 .

Proud mum - Janis pictured with son Adam

She then worked in Reidy's music shop in Blackburn, a job she loved.

Janis found true love with her third husband Brian Whitlock , but shortly after their wedding in June 2008 he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died in September of that year.

Earlier in her career Janis worked at local pubs and clubs including the White Bull, the Ribchester Arms, Ribchester Club and the former nightclub Lydia's.

She was also in demand as a talented flower arranger, doing church flowers and flowers for people's weddings,and also growing plants for beautiful window boxes and hanging basket displays.

True love - Janis and husband Brian pictured on their wedding day

Janis had helped run the local cub group as an Akela (leader). She loved her dogs and her pet dog Mr Pickles attended the funeral with the family.

Nicola said her mum had been determined to make the best of the time she had left after receiving her diagnosis of breast cancer.

She was especially looking forward to the birth of a fourth grandchild - son Adam and partner Shannon's first child, who is due later this year.

The family plan to have a big party to celebrate Janis' life some time next year.

Janis also leaves a brother Paul and his family in Canada. Her youngest brother Gerald died when a teenager.

Donations can be made to Macmillan Cancer Support via a link on funeral directors William Houghton's Facebook page. See here Meanwhile Janis's friend Judith Fiona Elcomb is also part way through a 100Km challenge in aid of breast cancer charity Breast Cancer Now. See here or search the JustGiving page for Judith Elcomb Judith's 100km in March for Janis on the JustGiving website.

Some of the tributes laid outside Janis's shop

For further details of Fiona's fundraiser see here** The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here