Vera Duckworth


Full name: Veronica Duckworth (née Burton)
Parents:
Joss Shackleton (unconfirmed) and Amy Burton
Born:
3 September 1937, Moss Side, Manchester, Lancashire
Died:
18 January, 2008, Weatherfield
Married:
Jack Duckworth (18 April or 19 August 1957)
Children:
Terry Duckworth, b:4 June 1964 (f: Jack Duckworth) after five miscarriages

Played by: Liz Dawn
First appeared:
19 August 1974

Vera and Jack Duckworth moved into No9 Coronation Street in September 1983. The neighbourhood was stunned at the arrival. They were loud and obnoxious and certainly brought down the housing prices! The Street would never be the same.

Vera's life revolved around her work in the factory, warehouse, and supermarket jobs. Employed at baldwins Casuals for a number of years, she was a born troublemaker - a chatter-box with a big mouth that often got her into a spot of bother. Vera and Ivy Tilsley were good mates both at work in the factory and on the Street where they lived. However Ivy was far more conscientious at her work tasks than Vera whose eyes were perpetually on the clock. Where Ivy would finish the task, Vera went to great lengths to find a way to get out of doing any work at all. Still they were the best of friends and relied on each other.

Vera and Jack separated once during their tumultuous relationship, for seven months. She left Jack and Terry in March 1975 and went to live with a carpet fitter in a flat over a chip shop. The affair ended after four months and she then dated a series of men, including Rovers cellarman, Fred Gee. Vera returned to Jack but continued to at least try be unfaithful, as did he. When Jack began to take baths and pay attention to his appearance, Vera grew suspicious. Rovers barmaid Bet Lynch had taken a fancy to Jack and Vera was going to have none of it. Vera confronted Bet and that put a stop to the philandering on both sides at least for a while.

Home life was turbulent for Vera. There were no secrets in the Duckworth household and Vera aired all of their dirty laundry at every opportunity - she didn't practise discretion! Her son Terry turned out to be less than the ideal son showing up only when he wanted money or he was free on bail. He caused Vera and Jack a lifetime of problems. In and out of jail, he brought his pregnant girlfriend Lisa Horton home with him in 1992. The couple married - although Terry was in handcuffs at the time. Vera had taken a liking to the gentle Lisa and was thrilled. With the arrival of baby Tommy, life seemed good but it was short-lived. Lisa was struck by a car outside of the Rovers Return and died. Vera gave up her job to look after Tommy until Terry had completed his sentence. Two days after his release, Terry sold Tommy to Lisa's parents claiming that Vera was too old to raise a child. Vera was completely shattered - heartbroken that her son her flesh and blood, could be so despicable. A few years later Terry in need of some fast money, tried to gouge the Hortons once again by "re-selling" Tommy to them for £10,000, breaking Veras heart for the last time. She tore up any photos of her son vowing to never acknowledge him again.

The days of work and bingo were momentarily interrupted when Jack won a car for Vera after entering a contest. Nothing being as it seems, Jack had entered the contest claiming to be Vera.  It quickly turned unpleasant when after a car accident (Vera was trying to kiss Jack), Jacks nose was broken and he sued Vera for £600. He won but the money went into her bank account because he didnt have one! In typical Vera fashion, she quickly found places to spend the money.

Vera became a grandmother a second time when her friend Tricia Armstrong became pregnant with Terry's child. Jack was appalled, but Vera was delighted. Brad Armstrong was born in the Rovers living room and delivered by Betty. After realizing that Terry wasnt going to complete the picture, Tricia, along with her son Jamie, baby Brad and her new boyfriend Ray Thorpe moved out of the Street. Vera stays in touch with Tricia and family and visits frequently.

When Vera's mother died in 1991, she finally met her 'father' for the first time. Vera was elated with the discovery, but Jack was less than convinced. Joss Shackleton quickly moved into No9, displacing lodger Curly Watts. Sifting through some photos one day, Joss came across a photo of King Edward VII and showed it to Vera. He claimed the photo was of his grandfather her great-grandfather. Vera was quickly convinced that she had blue blood coursing through her veins when Joss claimed he was the illegitimate grandson of Royalty. Vera had always "felt royal". Jack of course, was never convinced.

Luck finally shone on the Duckworths when they had the opportunity to buy the Rovers Return in 1995. Jacks brother Cliff had left him £30,000 after dying in a car accident on holiday in Spain. It was the proudest day in her life when Vera put her name as licensee above the door to the Rovers. Together they felt respect from their community for the first time.

In 1998, after financial difficulties with the VAT emerged and they owed nearly £18,000, the Duckworths took a partner. Alec Gilroy became equal partners with the Duckworths. In late 1998, after many rows, Alec bought out the Duckworth with the understanding that they could remain in the Rovers flat and continue to be employed in the bar.

In early 1999, Alec sold the Rovers to Natalie Barnes who evicted the Duckworths. Jack and Vera are presently in temporary lodgings but continue to work at the Rovers Return. Coming full circle, Jack Duckworth has returned to his position as cellarman, and Vera Duckworth as cleaner.

When Gary Mallet decided to sell up and move to Blackpool with his twins, having found a new love, Jack and Vera bought Number 9 back from him. Jack had recently won over 60,000 pounds betting on a succession of horses. They moved back "home", taking lodger Tyrone with them. Shortly after, Andrea Clayton came to see the Duckworths to tell them that her son, their grandson, Paul, needed a kidney transplant. Jack and Vera both tested to be donors and Vera was a match but Jack didn't want her to undertake such a serious operation at her age. Terry was finally contacted and was persuaded (financially) to take the tests and he was a match too. Jack offered him 25,000 to do the operation and Terry nearly did it but bottled out at the last minute, taking the money and running. Vera went into surgery shortly after. The transplant was successful but Vera developed complications and nearly died. While Jack was waiting to see if she'd recover, he found a note from her that she'd left "just in case". In it, she confessed to an affair and said that she thought Terry might not be Jack's son. Jack told Curly that he was sure Terry was because Terry was so much like him. Later he pretented to Vee that he never read the note because he was positive she would survive.

While Vera recovered, Jack had a new extension built on the back of the house for a refitted kitchen. A few years later, Vera took up a pinny and worked part time in the cafe with Roy. She also made friends with a new neighbour, Frankie Baldwin, wife of Danny who turned out to be Mike Baldwin's son by his former sister in law.

Vera started slowing down in her late 60s. In 2007 she was delighted that her grandson, Paul, came to visit and moved in. Paul was a bit shifty, just like his dad Terry and just as before, Vera would never hear a word against Paul though Tyrone had his number from the start. Even when Jack finally discovered that Paul had used his name to get a mortgage on Number 9, he never told Vera because it would have upset her. In early 2008, Vera felt it was time for them to sell up and retire to her beloved Blackpool. They found a little house and sold theirs to Ty and Molly but just before they were going to move, Jack came home from the pub to find Vera had died in her sleep, relaxing in her favourite chair. Her heart had simply just stopped. Jack was devastated and spoke at the funeral, telling people that he and Vera shared a life, rather than have two separate lives, and ended by thanking Vera.


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