FORMER guests of local B&B landlady Pat Harnett sent condolence cards to her husband Terry following her death, with many remembering her as “the most perfect host”.
Pat had run Danewood B&B in Tiptoe from the early 1990s until last year when she was diagnosed with cancer.
Terry, of Harnett Builders, New Milton, told the A&T how touched he had been that so many people who enjoyed Pat’s hosting skills over the years had sent him their best wishes.
He said: “One couple wrote, ‘Pat you were the most wonderful host. We would say about coming down to the New Forest, but really, we were coming down to see you’.”
Pat had spent nearly all her life as a nurse in hospitals in Bournemouth and Milford. She went on to work in a nursing home before setting up a B&B.
“She absolutely loved it. She enjoyed meeting new people. Her breakfasts were legendary,” said Terry.
The couple met at a local dance in Boscombe at the Arcade Ballrooms in November 1959. Terry remembered: “When I saw her, I thought, ‘Christ! What a cracker.’ I asked her to dance and we never stopped all night.”
At the time, Terry rode a motorbike but Pat’s mother would not let him take her out on it, so he used to travel to her home by train and bicycle.
He ended up selling his beloved motorbike to buy Pat an engagement ring and the couple married on 28th January 1961.
Pat continued as a nurse while Terry worked as a carpenter before setting up his own business. In 1962 they moved to Hordle where they had daughter Kay in 1964, Lorraine a year later and Cindy in 1969.
She was well enough to celebrate her 80th on a cruise in July last year. But her health deteriorated and she went into hospital a month ago.
Terry said: “We were not allowed to see her because of Covid-19. It was so hard – in all our married years we had never spent a night apart.
“When the doctors told me that there was nothing they could do for Pat, I told them how my three granddaughters all work for the NHS.
“I said Pat would receive as good a care at home as she would in hospital. They agreed and she was discharged.”
Eleven days later Pat passed away with every member of her close family around her. Terry said: “It was just amazing that we were all there.
“I had hold of Pat’s hand and I told her I loved her and squeezed her hand. She squeezed back, then she was gone. We would have been married 60 years in January.
“I had the finest wife any man could wish for.”
Pat’s funeral is being held at Hordle parish church on Monday 19th October.