Family mourns generous Maggie

FUN-LOVING Maggie Bennett devoted the last five years of her life to helping asylum seekers and refugees.The young men she worked with even saw her like a second mum.

FUN-LOVING Maggie Bennett devoted the last five years of her life to helping asylum seekers and refugees.

The young men she worked with even saw her like a second mum.

Today her husband and daughter remembered the much-loved Kirton woman who died suddenly aged just 48.

Mrs Bennett, a former police officer, worked for the social services and was based in St Helen's Street, Ipswich.

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But tragedy struck on March 23 when Mrs Bennett collapsed at work and started fitting. A computed tomography scan, known as a CT scan, found a vessel in her brain had bled.

The following day she was transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, but suffered two more bleeds.

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Mrs Bennett's daughter, Clare Bennett, 22, of Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich, said: "It meant we were hoping for a miracle and even if she had come round, she wouldn't have been the same."

Her family took the decision to turn off her life support on Saturday, March 26 and Mrs Bennett died the following day - Easter Sunday.

Mrs Bennett's husband, Harry Bennett, 70, of Weir Place, Kirton, said: "Maggie did great things and she died on the Lord's day. She was a Catholic and had always wanted to see the Pope -now she will."

Mrs Bennet, a Geordie, was born in Willington Quay, North Tyneside - and had even streaked across the Tyne bridge when aged 19 or 20.

She came to Ipswich in the 1970s to join the police force, where she met Mr Bennett who was a detective.

The couple had Clare in 1982 and were married in 1993.

It was a second marriage for Mr Bennett, who said: "Although there was an age difference, it didn't matter."

The active couple enjoyed swimming, karate and have both run the London Marathon.

They also loved travelling and in the past five years have been on 14 holidays, including Crete, Tunisia, Cyprus and Turkey, making friends wherever they went.

Mrs Bennett was devoted to her job.

Mr Bennett said: "She worked with people who had suffered tragedies such as torture, rape or having family members executed. You were not even allowed to crack an ethnic joke in the house."

Miss Bennett added: "She was very passionate about asylum seekers' rights.

"She was no shrinking violent, but you couldn't be intimidated by her. She was fun-loving, compassionate and lived life to the full."

Mrs Bennett's family are now working to come to terms with her death.

Mr Bennett said: "While I am with people I clown around, but I take my dogs out for a walk every morning. If I want to cry, I do it on the fields and on my own."

Maggie Bennett's funeral service is taking place on Tuesday, April 12, at 11am at St Felix Roman Catholic Church, Felixstowe. This will be followed by the burial at Felixstowe Cemetery.

Flowers are welcome, but people can also make donations to the NCCU at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge and forwarded to Co-operative Funeral Service, 213 High Street, Walton, Felixstowe.

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