John Challis' wife reflects on their marriage

© Bang Showbiz John Challis

John Challis’ widow’s life was “never boring” with the actor.

The ‘Only Fools and Horses’ actor died of cancer aged 79 last weekend and his spouse Carole has reflected on their life together and how much they enjoyed spending time at their home in Herefordshire in the final years of her husband’s life.

She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “In lockdown, we realised how lucky we were to have [the house]. We were very happy spending days alone together, pottering around the garden, discussing new ideas for it, and ready to make the most of an extended period of tranquillity.

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“John never really felt he was from anywhere. He had very few relations left, and the house provided him with a great sense of security. He was pleased to be there in the later days of his illness.

“Everything I look out on in the garden will remind me of him. I knew, since I first realised he was the man for me, that life with John would never be boring. And it never was.”

The couple worked hard to restore the property, Wigmore Abbey, and Carol admitted it was almost like a child to them.

She recalled: “When we looked around it and found that some ancestors of mine had lived there a century or so before, that sealed it. The joy that John and I have had since we moved in, in 1998, has never waned.

“We created a beautiful garden from scratch, choosing all the plants, seeing what worked and what didn’t, watching our garden grow over all that time. We never had children; it wasn’t an option for John, and I had no great maternal instinct, so, in a sense, the house and garden became our offspring, with teething troubles and teenage tantrums.”

But the couple almost moved out at one point when they considered relocating to Spain after spending several months there while John worked on ‘Benidorm’, but ultimately decided against it.

Carole said: “I enjoyed the several months we spent living in Spain when John was making ‘Benidorm’ in 2017. We even talked about living there permanently, but our attachment to our home in England was too strong.

“Obviously in later years we weren’t charging around so much. John would sometimes tell me how he loved to see me sitting down sewing and creating costumes, while we talked.”

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