Goodbye to a Lancashire Legend – Janice Wardley

Janice Wardley

Lancashire Legend Mrs Janice Wardley, sadly passed away at the end of September 2019, after having fought bravely against Cancer.

A special Lady

Janice was very well known in Leyland and the surrounding area. Having been a community midwife, she and touched many peoples’ lives. Since she was diagnosed with cancer she fought so hard and was still committed to holding coffee mornings for charity.

For everyone who knew Janice, when you thought of her, you would immediately smile. That was how Janice was – happy, smiley and full of life – and it was infectious. She was also extremely kind, dedicated, loving, radiant, fun, tenacious – and that’s just a start.

Janice Wardley 2

Early life

Janice Wardley was born just over the road from Leyland St Marys Church in her family home, on Haig Avenue, on 15th February 1962. Her older siblings, Glen and Susan, lived there too, with their mum, Elspeth, and father, Ken.

One of Susan’s earliest memories of Janice is the very day her little sister came into the world. Susan and her brother, Glen, had been banished to the sofa downstairs because they both had measles. Their neighbour presented Janice to them both from the top of the stairs – and here she was.

Caring Nature

Janice’s caring and loving personality was apparent from an early age – an affectionate trait which continued throughout her life.

At the age of four for example, Janice disappeared for a number of hours and returned home a little upset that the local shopkeeper wouldn’t sell a packet of Anadin to her. She had taken it upon herself to walk there and buy some for her mum, who’d had a headache.  Perhaps a foresight into her future profession!

Similarly, aged 14, Janice went down to Portsmouth to visit her sister, Susan, at her halls of residence at university. Susan became ill with a bug and Janice stayed and looked after her the entire trip – fetching anything Susan needed – even though Janice didn’t know anyone else there.

Janice Wardley attended Leyland St Mary’s Primary School and later, the secondary school on Royal Avenue. It was at aged four at primary school where she first met her husband, Tony.

Family life

Janice and Tony were married in June 1986 and lived with their three girls – Lisa, Helen and Lizzie.

Janice was a devoted and caring wife, and loved her children very much. Whilst cruising the Mediterranean in 2017, Janice and Tony renewed their wedding vows on the ship.

The entire family have very fond memories of wonderful holidays. These included camping and caravanning, going to Disneyland in Florida, Spain, and Perranporth in Cornwall, which they visited for 23 consecutive years. All these memories, together with lovely family Christmases’, and the day-to-day enjoyment of family life, they can now cherish forever.

Janice Wardley 2

A dedicated professional

Janice Wardley qualified as a nurse in 1983 and undertook her midwifery training in 1986. She was hugely respected and loved by her colleagues, and the families she looked after throughout her 33-year career.

Janice was truly dedicated to her job – working at Blackpool, Preston and Chorley hospitals, and as a community midwife in the latter part of her career.


Families in Leyland and Chorley would request Janice to be their midwife. Both Janice and Tony attended a number of christenings of children that she had delivered – a testament to her supportive, caring and professional nature.

As a midwife, Janice especially enjoyed home births. On one occasion, Janice almost caused a house fire during a home birth. The birthing woman requested candle light only during her labour. Janice accidently knocked over one of the candles which set light to some papers. You can just imagine her trying to waft-out the flames whilst keeping the labouring woman calm and ensuring the ‘zen’ in the room was still intact!

An energetic, caring and professional person

Janice was also a great attraction when she was on duty for aqua-natal classes. They were very energetic – Janice bouncing around on the poolside trying to get the women into it. Ladies came from all over just to take part in Janice’s classes – obviously a must if you were pregnant at the time!

Janice also taught a lot of student midwives. She would them under her wing and passing on the knowledge and passion for the profession – and of course, high standards were a must!

A midwife and friend, Allyson, also remembers her fantastic suturing skills – such dexterity and precision!

Her fellow midwives will have many more memories – a comfort to us all in times when we miss her. Hundreds, if not thousands of babies and women were under the care of Janice. It’s clear to see how much she meant to them all  her long career across Leyland & Chorley.

Positive Outlook

Always non judgemental, positive and passionate about “Her Women” as she called the mums.

It’s inspiring how Janice ensured complete dedication to her job as a midwife, whilst also being there as a wife and a mother, and a grandmother.

Her grandchildren Rebecca, Thomas and Jacob all loved her very much.

At home, she was a whizz in the kitchen with a tin opener, and had ‘The Elephant’ takeaway on speed dial. Saying that, she more recently went to a John Whaite cookery course with her sister – who regularly bakes – and ‘whooped’ with glee as her cakes came out better than Susan’s.

Later life

Since retiring from midwifery three years ago – or entering ‘La La Land’ as she’d called it – Janice enjoyed daily walks on Worden Park with her dogs. Other likes were cruising the Mediterranean with Tony and drinking Rattler cider on Perranporth beach. Janice Wardley spared no cost on Clarins face creams, and re-found her love of knitting. She was the only person on a sunbed around the pool in Tenerife who was knitting in 30-degree heat….

Janice Wardley dedicated herself to some brilliant causes, raising £3,000 during one coffee morning at her house for Macmillan Cancer Research. She also set up a page on Facebook to help nurses at Preston Hospital find parking. This was picked up by a journalist at BBC Radio Lancashire where she was interviewed about it on live morning radio!

Positive Mental Attitude

Since her diagnosis three years ago, she fought tirelessly and tackled every appointment, test, scan and treatment cycle with a positive outlook.

She’d say: “PMA – positive mental attitude. That’s what I used to tell my women in labour.”

Tony and the girls would often walk in, to the Alexa on full blast with the song ‘The Key, The Secret’ and Janice dancing around the house with a huge smile on her face.

“I’ve got the key and the secret,” she’d say. “Positive thoughts – I can do this.”

We’ve all suffered a huge loss, one that sits heavy in all of our hearts. But in times when we feel sad, and miss her terribly, we must think about the many happy memories we were privileged to share with Janice Wardley, and the love that surrounded her.

Thank you, Janice for being such a blessing in all our lives. We know you are always with us in spirit – and we love you – as she would say it: “…millions and trillions.”

Janice’s Funeral

Around 280 people attended Janice Wardley’s funeral at St Marys, family and friends gave the readings.

Jo Duckworth sang Ave Maria, which did not leave a dry eye in the church. Paul Duckworth read the eulogy (composed by the family). Janice left the church to the song “Close to you”, by the Carpenters.

Many followed on to Charnock Farm to share fond memories and raise a glass to Janice Wardley.

Even after her passing, Janice Wardley was contributing to the local community, with donations and fund raising events generating funds for St Catherine’s Hospice and Marie Curie Nurses.