On the 30th anniversary of her grandfather’s death, student Molly Lynch shares a short poem written by him describing a walk in the Ribble Valley

When she is not studying Fine Art in London, Molly Lynch lives with her family and rescue animals in a farmhouse in Tosside.

Molly lives with her mum Charlotte (Charlie) her partner and his two children, and they moved in to their farmhouse in the summer of 2017 with their ever-expanding collection of animals including a dog, a cat, a lamb, three sheep, two geese and two chickens.

Molly, who is in her third year at Kingston School of Art explains: “We are all very passionate about the outdoors, it is when we feel the most complete and content. This is something my mum inherited from her dad, and I from her. Moving into the heart of the Ribble Valley felt like coming home for us all but mostly for my mum.”

Molly’s grandad, John Norman died 30 years ago in 1989, 24 miles into a marathon in Majorca. Running, as he always did, to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, John died of a heart attack when he was just 53.

“He was a very accomplished runner, a keen walker and mountain lover,” explains Molly. Born in 1936, John loved to visit the Ribble Valley: “While he lived in and around the Westhoughton area his whole life, his heart belonged to the Ribble Valley. We think he wrote the poem around 1988.”

“Most of my mum’s childhood was spent in the hills of the Ribble Valley, something that was very much encouraged by her dad. His spirit animal was a heron and we often see them where we live. Every time it feels as if a part of him is still here.”

“Mum was incredibly close to her dad, he always encouraged her in any pursuit and she attributes her success to his influence. He was an admirable man, kind hearted and supportive,” explains Molly, whose mum is chief executive of a North West based social housing association.”

“They shared interests in literature, film and music. He took my mum to her first concert to see The Police. She often tells me that when she and her friends were younger he would drive them all to concerts hours away and wait outside for them to drive them home. She lost him at the tender age of 21, the same age that I am now.”

“My mum and I share the same relationship that she had with her dad, for me losing her at this age would be unimaginable. I believe that she carries his principles, his work ethic and his passion with her in every venture of her life. Part of him still exists in the mysterious hills of the Ribble Valley for my mum and for us all.”

Molly recalls her mum buying a painting of Pendle Hill many years ago, which now hangs in her office: “One of the main things that made us choose our house in Tosside was the view of Pendle from our dining room. When viewing the house it was the first thing my mum noticed. She now she sees Pendle from her window every morning.”

In memory of her dad, Molly’s mum is now planning to do the Great North Run this year in September in his honour, raising money for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Charity which continues to help and support children and their families in times of need.

Molly adds: “As well as this she is also walking one big hill or mountain every single month of this year.”

If you would like to support Molly’s mum go to



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