Loving tributes paid to a brave, inspirational friend

IPSWICH: A soul mate, a wonderful mother and the best friend you could ask for.

That is how Lesley Back will today be remembered by her family and close friends who yesterday gathered to celebrate her life, which was tragically cut short after a long term illness.

The 60-year-old bravely battled cancer for eight years before the disease claimed her life on August 9.

Friend Sue Gipps today paid her heartfelt tributes to the woman she describes as “the best friend ever.”

“She was the friend who was always there, she never judged and always listened,” she said. “She was the person I would fall into uncontrollable fits of giggles with over nothing at all.”

Lesley, who worked in the advertising department at The Evening Star for many years, was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago.

After beating the disease once, she and her family, partner Glenn Minter, daughter Clare and son John received the devastating news it had spread to her liver.

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Determined not to give up Lesley fought the vicious disease for eight years.

Mrs Gipps, who worked with her best friend at the Star for around five years, said: “She beat the breast cancer but it spread to her liver. She fought liver cancer for eight years but it spread to her bones and lungs.

“She was one of the bravest, most inspirational people I have ever met.

“Last year she walked the Playtex 26-mile London walk despite her illness. Every year she would do the Race for Life to raise money and she never gave up.

“She filled her life, squashing in so many wonderful experiences.

“She volunteered for the Samaritans, she raised money for charity, travelled to see her son in Thailand and other far-flung places.”

Lesley passed away at the home she shared with her long-term partner in Cavendish Street, Ipswich with Mr Minter and her daughter Clare at her side.

Mrs Gipps added: “She has left a whopping hole in my life that I doubt will ever be filled.

“She was my best mate and my soul mate. She will be very missed by her family and loved by so many.”

At Milsoms in Kesgrave yesterday friends and family gathered to celebrate Lesley’s life, following a private funeral at the West Chapel in Ipswich Crematorium.

Past and present colleagues paid their respects, including The Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover.

He said: “Lesley was an incredibly, generous, warm and loving mother and partner.

“She was so courageous in her long fight against ill health and she leaves a lasting impression on everyone who knew her.”

Lesley is also survived by her father Les Cobb, brother Michael Cobb, sister Jeanie Murphy, granddaughter Megan Rowe and Megan’s father Jonathan Rowe.

n Would you like to pay tribute to Lesley? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk.