AS Brian Turner looks through a bundle of hand-written notes and faded photographs he recalls the bond between his late mother Elizabeth and the famous Daleswoman.

Mr Turner, a former councillor from Chilton, found the letters inside a signed copy of one of Hannah Hauxwell's books after his mother passed away in 1997.

Learning of Hannah's death on January 30, aged 91, he dug them back out.

"They span about a decade and obviously meant a lot to mam, their's was a genuine friendship and both had a lot of affection for each other," he said.

Elizabeth had been instantly taken with Hannah when she saw her in the 1973 film Too Long a Winter.

Having recently lost husband Harry and with all three sons left home, she had time and love to give. So, with brother-in-law Ron Turner at the wheel, she set off in search of Hannah's farm Low Birk Hatt, in Baldersdale.

The pair went on to visit around every six weeks, unless snow stopped them, with food, clothes and gifts including a painting of the farm by keen amateur artist Elizabeth. The visits turned into days out to Scarborough or the North Yorkshire Moors, and sometimes Elizabeth stayed over to look after Hannah while she tended to the farm.

On several occasions Ron drove Hannah to Ferryhill Station to stay with Elizabeth and they enjoyed listening to music, picnics and chatting for hours.

Mr Turner, 83, said: "Hannah had a very austere lifestyle and I think initially mother could hardly believe how she coped, she was so taken with the hardship that she couldn’t help herself and just had to go.

"I think that resonated with Hannah and how the friendship started, from an act of genuine kindness it blossomed."

The letters from Hannah , in her large, loopy handwriting, thank Elizabeth and Ron for their kindness and the fun and company they shared.

Through the 1980s, by which time Elizabeth was in her 70s and Hannah was travelling the globe for TV and had moved into the village of Cotherstone, they were in less frequent contact but remained in each other's hearts.

Miss Hauxwell’s funeral will be held at Barnard Castle Methodist Church on Friday, February 16, at 11am.

*Picture special- page 50.