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Blackett Family Tree

Trustee of Astro Brain Tumour Fund, Linda Rickford (nee Blackett) whose 36 year old son has a grade 2 ependymoma,  decided some time ago to try and trace her family tree.  Her explorations led her to a 'Blackett' website and she subsequently met up, and formed friendships with, newly discovered cousins Al Kirtley, Pat Longbottom and Martin Blackett.   Al, Pat and Martin had spent many years researching the Blackett family history and had so much information that they decided to write, and publish, a book called 'A History of the Blacketts' which traced the family tree all the way back to the 13th century, and is not just a story of a remarkable family whose tentacles have reached out around the world, but a story of the very history of the beautiful area of Durham and the surrounding countryside.

Linda was delighted and very moved when Al, Pat and Martin, after discovering that Linda's son had a brain tumour, told her that they wanted to donate all of the profits from the sale of the books to two Charities: Astro Brain Tumour Fund and Rainbow Trust children’s charity.  It was suggested that they present the cheques at Woodcroft, between Frosterley and Stanhope, in Co Durham.  Woodcroft is now, sadly, a crumbling ruin but it was the home of the Blackett family for centuries until it passed out of their hands in 1770.  Linda relished the idea of visiting this ancient family home of the Blacketts and, of course meeting up once again with her newly found relatives, and travelled from Surrey to be with Al, Pat and Martin for the presentation.  Also present was Caroline Robertson from Rainbow  Trust and Sir Hugh Blackett, patron of Rainbow Trust.

The weather was kind and, despite the heavy rain which had fallen the night before, the rain held off during the morning for the presentation.  With the permission of the Peart family, who now own the land, the party climbed up a steep, muddy, wet farm track to get to the ruins...and what a good job they all had their wellies on!   Linda was grateful for the kind help of Sir Hugh who was a gallant knight in shining armour!  Linda and Caroline were delighted when they were each presented with a cheque for £770.00 which, when added to money previously presented, totalled an amazing £1270.  A not insignificant amount!   The party enjoyed the stunning views of the most beautiful Weardale countryside and then walked/slid/stumbled their way back down the track to retire to a lovely country pub for much needed refreshments and lunch, kindly paid for by Sir Hugh.

Tom Chapman

'A History of the Blacketts’ books are now out of print but if you would like more information regarding the fascinating history of this family, you can visit their website at  Our grateful thanks go to all of the Blackett Authors for their kind generosity.