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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Family and customers mourn Cumbrian cancer fight woman

Brave Sharon Richardson always refused to be beaten by the illness that eventually claimed her life.

Sharon Richardson photo
Sharon Richardson

Even when she was in agony after back surgery at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary, the 42-year-old hairdresser was determined to see her sister and other relatives run in the Race for Life to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

As news of Sharon’s death on January 4 spread this week, her heartbroken family paid her an emotional tribute.

Courageous, fun-loving, and caring, Sharon was known to hundreds of people in Carlisle as the talented and cheerful owner of Salon Arcadia in Botchergate, which she owned for the last 12 years.

Privately, Sharon, a former pupil of Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton, had battled against cancer for three-and-a-half years until her illness forced her to give up the job last June.

She was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and despite three major operations doctors were unable to save her.

Her fiance and long-term partner Paul Penrice, 40, a maintenance contractor from Upperby, told yesterday how despite her illness she always put other people first.

He said: “I first met Sharon when I was fitting out her shop and we connected with everything we did.

“ It was just the fun that we had together. Her customers are devastated by her death – we’ve had so many text messages from people. It’s a good job Sharon’s mum has two front windows because we’ve had so many sympathy cards.

“Right up until a few hours before she passed away, she was putting other people first. She’d planned to do the Race For Life in July with her sister but Sharon was rushed into hospital for back surgery.”

Paul’s daughter Ashlea, 16, who loved Sharon like a mother, did the race for her. Sharon’s sister Carla, 28, from Wigton, said: “There were 14 years between us and she was like a second mother to me. She was such a generous person and if ever there was anything I needed she was there for me. She couldn’t do the Race for Life because she was in agony, but she was determined to be there to cheer us on. She had to walk with a stick but she just wouldn’t give up. She told me she wasn’t going to let the illness beat her.

“These past couple of months I have had to be stronger for her – and that’s what she’s taught me, to think of others first.

“She was a classy lady – she loved her make up, and her clothes, and sequins, and diamonds. And as a person, that’s what she was – a 100 per cent diamond.”

Sharon’s heartbroken mum Mary, 61. also from Wigton, added: “Sharon never complained and just kept busy getting on with her life. She was always hardworking, and always professional. She had wanted to be a hairdresser since the age of 11, and she was over the moon when the previous owner of the Botchergate shop gave her the chance to buy it.”

Sharon’s funeral service will be held tomorrow, at 10am at St Cuthbert’s Church, Wigton, followed by an interment at Wigton Cemetery. The family said that bright colours may be worn in celebration of Sharon’s life.

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