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Francis, Irene

Irene (Rene) Francis was born on September 9, 1923 at Robin Hood Farm, Lostock Green, daughter of Harold Brereton Corker and Holly Georgina Corker, and sister to Jean and Kenneth. Educated locally, Rene took a administrative career with Northwich Urban District Council. Rene was first married in 1943 to Thomas Turner, of Witton Park Northwich, an RAF Flying Office. Rene was widowed early after Thomas was tragically was lost in action in Europe. At the end of the war, Rene met another RAF Pilot, Norman Grant Francis, whom Rene married on September 7th, 1946 at St Helen Parish Church, Witton, Northwich. Having lived in Barnston on the Wirral in their early marriage they moved to Wincham Hall in 1961 with their four children Michael, Christopher, Susan and Barbara. At the time Rene’s father’s health was not good. The move was to enable Rene to help look after the family haulage business, H.B. Corker Transport, along with her sister Jean. Sadly Kenneth Corker, Rene’s only brother, died of Polio in 1958 thus leaving Rene and Jean to help run the family business and to take it over following the death of their father in 1967. This they did for many years until the business was eventually sold to Baldwins Transport. Rene then diverted her attentions and enthusiasm into developing Wincham Hall into a Motel and venue for weddings and other social functions. Rene and Norman extensively developed Wincham Hall to create the perfect ambiance for functions of all occasions. It was also a motel for commercial drivers and contractors who travelled the length and breadth of the country and beyond to stay in what has been described by many drivers as ‘the best place to stay in all the country at the time’. Rene and Norman retired in 1989 and spent many enjoyable retirement years firstly living in Weaverham in a thatched cottage with a swimming pool, enjoyed by Norman regularly, before moving to Watcroft Hall in Rudheath. They owned a static caravan at Arnside in the Lake District where they spent many enjoyable retreats over the years with their children and grandchildren. They both enjoyed travelling abroad and taking cruises. Rene and Norman were both very active members of various clubs including the Probus, U3A, ESU, Wednesday Club etc. They both read for the ‘talking newspaper’. Following Norman’s death in 2002, Rene continued her membership with the various clubs and activities and also joined a painting/art class which she had always wanted to do. She was a very talented artist, though modesty refused to allow her to believe this. Both Rene and Norman attended Lostock Church and Rene continued to do so following Norman’s demise. In November 2007 Rene suffered a stroke and it was with sheer determination and courage that she fought back and was able to return home to her bungalow in Winsford until she sadly passed away on December 28, 2008.

Francis Irene

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