Obituary: Brian Whalley

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Brian Whalley , who died on April 19, was born on May 31, 1929, and was
the third son of Mr and Mrs William Whalley’s six children, three boys and three girls.

He came with his family from their dairy farm in Lancashire to have a holiday at Rockhill Farm Guest House on the south shore of Loch Awe in Argyll.

There he met Helen Hodge, who was helping her mother to run the guest house and it was love at first sight. They were married in the little Scottish Episcopalian Church of St James’s, Ardbrecknish, on March 11, 1964, and neither of them ever looked at anyone else again. Their son Lennox (Len) was born in 1965.

Mrs Hodge died in 2002 and Helen carried on the family business. She so clearly remembers how it started.

Mrs Shields, who then owned Ardbrcknish House Hotel, as it had become, rang up to say she was overbooked. Could Helena Hodge possibly accommodate the extra people? She agreed and when the guests left, she stood bemused, looking at the money in her hand, saying: ‘Good God, you can actually get paid for this!’

And so the business began.

Following her mother’s death, Helen carried on and now there was always Brian to help her – ‘the rock on which she leaned’ – and they entertained visitors from as far away as the USA. Some of them came again and again.

There was one couple, in particular, who visited Rockhill no fewer than 80 times.

Brian was, in fact, the gentle giant, always ready to help anyone and in particular Helen, who was building up a stud of Hanoverian horses on
the farm.

Soon Rockhill’s horses became famous, much in demand for showing and for cross-country events. Of course the young horses had to be delivered to new owners and Brian frequently drove them to all parts of the British Isles, often during the night.

Sadly, his health deteriorated over the past few years and his death brought an end to a wonderfully happy marriage lasting for 54 years.

The thoughts and sympathy of their many friends and neighbours on South
Lochaweside go out to Helen and Len.