Special service to celebrate Noel's life

FRIENDS of Noel Henshall who died suddenly the USA were today invited to a memorial service which will celebrate her life.

FRIENDS of Noel Henshall, who died suddenly the USA, were today invited to a memorial service which will celebrate her life.

Noel - the sister of West End star Ruthie - died on August 19 after collapsing at her home in Grass Valley, north of San Francisco.

Her parents David and Gloria Henshall, of Stutton, and her sisters Ruthie, who lives at Manningtree, and Abigail were at her bedside after they flew to the States.

Noel's twin sister Susan, who lives in Ipswich, was at the point of flying out to join them when the news came that Noel had died.

There will be a private family funeral for Noel, who was 49, at St Peter's Church, Stutton, this week followed by a memorial service at St Peter's on Saturday, September 29 at 11am, at which all will be welcome.

Noel's father David Henshall said: “We plan a celebration of her life with readings and songs as well as prayers and hymns - and the opportunity for those with special memories of her to speak if they wish.

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“We are slowly piecing together the puzzle of what happened to Noel at her Californian home, trying to understand what went wrong.

“We know that she had been suffering severe back problems for some time, that it was painkillers that caused her death but it is now clear that there were other matters involved.

“Although still bubbly and amusing with her friends and colleagues, they noticed a change in her over the final weeks. She had run away from a long relationship that had turned toxic, had slipped off the wagon after seven years without a drink and had sometimes considered returning to England.

“Sadly, she told us nothing of this. “

He said while it was thought unlikely that her death was an accident it remained unclear whether it had been an attempt at a cry for help or an intentional act.

He added: “But this brilliant, beautiful and successful woman has left behind a heartbroken family and scores of perplexed, devoted friends who would have moved heaven and earth for her if she'd asked.”