Family’s tribute to driver killed in crash tragedy

Catherine Hartley, 78, died after her car hit a brick wall on Heyhouses Lane, St Annes.
Catherine Hartley, 78, died after her car hit a brick wall on Heyhouses Lane, St Annes.

The devastated family of a keen golfer and beloved aunt who died following a car crash just yards from her home have today spoken of their “huge loss”.

Paramedics worked to revive Catherine Hartley, 78, at the scene of the accident, on Heyhouses Lane, St Annes, but she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at hospital on Sunday.

Family and friends today told of their shock following the tragedy.

A regular on the Fylde coast golf circuit, she lived alone with her cat Ebby since her husband Brian died last year.

Her nephews James and Peter Garry said their aunt, who had no children of her own, had been “like a mum” to them.

Peter, who lives in Great Eccleston, said: “She loved her golf, cats and family.

“She travelled the world and spent a lot of time in America.

“She was a very good aunt to her eight nephews and nieces – she is just a huge loss to the whole family.”

Despite efforts to save her, Mrs Hartley died within an hour of the crash, when her car came off the road at the junction of Heyhouses Lane and Blackpool Road North and struck the garden wall of a nearby property.

Brought up in Whitworth, Rochdale, she moved to the Fylde coast with husband Brian around 30 years ago.

Known locally to friends as Cath, but as Kitty to her family, she worked with social services, based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, before she retired and kept playing golf right up until her death.

Most recently, she was member at Knott End Golf Club. Just days before she died, she had been out on the golf course playing the sport she loved, her family said.

Mr Garry, 54, said: “My uncle was secretary at Fairhaven Golf Club – they were very competitive and very successful.

“She was a really smart, classy lady. She was really warm, a real northern lass.

“She always kept herself in great condition – she would have seen 100 if this hadn’t happened.”

In a statement, the family added: “This was a tragic accident.

“We don’t know the details but she wasn’t ill and she was a very safe driver.”

Mrs Hartley also leaves her brother Peter.

Her neighbour, and close friend, also paid tribute to a “wonderful friend and a lovely neighbour”.

Barbara Stanyard was at home when the 78-year-old’s silver Honda Jazz crashed into her wall on Sunday.

She said: “She and her husband were very well known – so many people will be really shocked.” Mrs Stanyard described the moment the car came off the road, sending debris flying into nearby gardens.

She added: “I was sitting at home and there was an almighty bang.

“The doors were open and the windows in the lounge –it shook the house.

“I went outside and someone grabbed me and it was Cath – I couldn’t believe it.

“I’m just so glad there was nobody else involved, there was so much traffic.

“The ambulance people tried to revive her.”

She joined Mrs Hartley’s family in praising the efforts of police and paramedics following the accident.

The junction of Heyhouses Lane and Kilnhouse Lane was closed for around three hours following the collision.

Police said they were called to the scene at 12.10pm on Sunday and an investigation into the accident is ongoing.

Sgt Claire Pearson, of the Road Policing Unit, said: “This is a tragic incident and my thoughts remain with the family and friends of the woman who are being supported by specially trained officers at this difficult time.

“We are appealing to anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the collision and may have seen what happened to contact us.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call 101.