Physiotherapist and community mainstay

Date: Tuesday 5th September 2017
Winifred Mary Barnett
Winifred Mary Barnett

A FORMER physiotherapist, active member of the Eden community and friend to many has died, aged 92.

Winifred Mary Barnett was the eldest child of David and Margaret Porter and was born at Kirklinton, in August, 1924.

Known as “Win” or “Winnie” to her friends and Auntie Win to her godchildren, she moved with her family to Tirril House while still a baby. She attended Yanwath School where she learned a love of nature, something she remained passionate about throughout her life.

After attending Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith, Win went to boarding school at Penrhos College, Colwyn Bay, and enjoyed her time there.

At the start of the war in 1939, Penrhos College was moved to the Duke of Devonshire’s Estate at Chatsworth House, with the Ministry of Food taking over Penrhos School buildings.

When she left school, Win began training as a nurse at Kendal, Blackburn and Chester hospitals. When she qualified in 1944, she worked at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital at Oswestry and trained as a nurse and physiotherapist.

She next went on to work at Wolverhampton and then moved on to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

In 1953, Win moved to a position at St. James Hospital, Kings Lynn, where her love of Norfolk took hold. She made many lasting relationships there, particularly with the Aylmer family, who became life-long friends.

In total, Win worked at 10 different hospitals, developing her expertise. As she moved across the country for work, she also learned a lot about UK geography.

Win married Sam Barnett in 1970 and the couple were together for many years before his death in 2004.

Her last NHS post was as a physiotherapist at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, where she worked primarily with children until her retirement in 1984. After retirement, she kept in contact with a number of colleagues and patients from her work over the years.

Secretary and president of the Cumberland Physiotherapy Society, Win initially became involved through her work with charity Scope and volunteered at a home for disabled people at Scelesceugh, Carlisle, for many years.

She travelled the world in retirement, enjoying every minute and immersing herself in each country’s culture.

She was also able to devote more time to her hobbies such as gardening and decorative and fine arts. An advanced driver, Win also took pride in her driving, only giving up in her mid-80s.

A loyal supporter of the Conservative party, Win served as secretary of the Young Conservatives while in Kings Lynn and was also chairman of the Tirril, Sockbridge, Yanwath and Eamont Bridge group.

She also joined the Soroptimist International Penrith and District group in 1974 and became president in 1982 and membership officer in 1984.

Win believed that in order to get the best out of being a Soroptimist, you had to be involved and attend conferences.

So during her time as a member, she attended international conferences in San Francisco, America and Nottingham.

She remained an active member of the Penrith club, attending meetings and helping with fund-raising events until her recent illness.

Win coped with profound deafness from her mid-40s and learned to lip read, refusing to be beaten by the fact that if she attended a function, she was unable to hear anything.

Close friends have described her as always being interested in people and able to communicate with all age groups. Her wisdom and advice will be sadly missed by all who knew her.

Win died at her home in Tirril. Her funeral was held at St. Michael’s Church, Barton.