Tributes to cancer sufferer Jane

PEOPLE in Ipswich paid tribute today to inspirational terminal cancer sufferer and charity fundraiser, Jane Tomlinson, who died in hospital. As Prime Minister Gordon Brown led tributes to the brave 43-year-old from Rothwell in Leeds, people from around the county added their own thoughts about the women who defied the odds for so long.

PEOPLE in Ipswich paid tribute today to inspirational terminal cancer sufferer and charity fundraiser, Jane Tomlinson, who died in hospital.

As Prime Minister Gordon Brown led tributes to the brave 43-year-old from Rothwell in Leeds, people from around the county added their own thoughts about the women who defied the odds for so long.

Mrs Tomlinson, died at St Gemma's Hospice, Leeds, at 9pm yesterday, having raised around £1.75 million during the years that she had battled cancer.

The money went to the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, which helps various cancer charities across the UK, by completing an incredible succession of gruelling sporting feats.

Today, her husband, Mike, and children, Suzanne, Rebecca and Steven, paid tribute to their wife and mother.

In a statement they said: “We are, as a family heartbroken, at this loss but we know this extends to all her family and friends.

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“Jane has always said her family has been the greatest joy in life and we feel honoured to have been blessed with such a wonderful person.”

“The weight of this burden has been immense on all of us, but primarily Jane. We hope that she is now at peace from the pain that has accompanied her for so long.”

In Ipswich, Mrs Tomlinson's bravery was highlighted. Sue Tunaley , from St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich said: “She was a fantastic woman, what she's done is just unbelievable.

“It's amazing for a perfectly healthy person but being terminally ill as well, it really is unbelievable.

“She was an incredible lady and she was a huge inspiration to people suffering from cancer and even to those who are not.”

Jane Pattle, the chairman of the supporters association of running group, Ipswich Harriers, said: “She managed to do an awful lot, often against the doctor's orders and she carried on because she believed so passionately about what she was doing.

“I take my hat off to her, its difficult when you are able bodied and it's hard to appreciate the amount of effort she must have put in.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “We are all very saddened to learn of Jane's death.

“Her achievements and her legacy of hope, is an inspiration to all of us and it will be remembered by us all.”

The Mayor of Ipswich, Inga Lockington, said: “Jane Tomlinson was a great woman who inspired millions and raised millions to help those suffering from cancer.

“She will be greatly missed across our country and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”

n. Post your tributes to Jane on the Evening Star on line book of condolence at www.eveningstar.co.uk, email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

PANEL

n.Born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on February 21, 1964, Jane married Mike in the mid-80s and together they built a home for themselves in Rothwell, Leeds, living the life of any normal Yorkshire family.

n.She was diagnosed with advanced metastatic breast cancer in August 2000, which was incurable. Doctors told her the spread of the disease was extensive and she was only expected to live for six months.

She began a course of chemotherapy, which finished the following year, and it was only then, in May 2001, that she took part in her first race, a 5km Race For Life.

n.She became the first terminally ill athlete to complete the London Triathlon, in August 2002, coming 20th in her age group.

n.She also successfully completed her postgraduate diploma in paediatric radiography.

n.In 2002 she completed the London Marathon and later went on to complete a mammoth 2,000 mile five week tandem bike ride from Rome to Leeds in 2004.

n. In November 2004, Mrs Tomlinson inspired a nation by becoming the world's first woman with incurable cancer to complete an Ironman competition, which involves a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and a full 42.2km marathon.

n. Her last challenge was a 4,200-mile bike ride across America in 2006, from San Francisco to New York, enduring temperatures of more than 100F and altitudes of more than 11,000ft along the way.

She received a CBE for her work in June of this year.

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