BRIGHT pink hair, tattoos and piercings, Nicki Butterworth proved heroes come in all packages.

The bubbly, loud 41-year-old mum-of-two - and proud grandmother to Kiara - spent seven years fighting ovarian cancer.

Despite being given several prognoses of just months, Nicki, who lived with husband Tony ‘Joe’ Butterworth in Penrith, refused to give in to her cancer.

As it spread through her body she fought on - seemingly ignoring her diagnosis and embarking on a unique bucket list.

Supported by friends and family - who helped raise the cash to allow Nicki to fulfil some of her more costly dreams - she fed penguins in a zoo, visited the Harry Potter studios and fed the homeless on the streets of Edinburgh.

Perhaps most memorably, Nicki and Tony planned a huge food fight in their back garden.

The disgusting mess - and Nicki’s absolute joy - were captured on camera by The Cumberland News, as baked beans, mashed potato and Angel Delight were flung, squished and poured.

The photo was one of those which later helped the paper’s photographer, Stuart Walker, take the award for Images of the Year at the O2 North West Media Awards.

Nicki secretly attended the awards in Manchester, coming on stage to surprise Stuart - despite later admitting she had been extremely sick in the morning and could only confirm her attendance hours before.

That iconic image was one of those singled out as part of The Cumberland News’ 200th birthday exhibition in Tullie House, and Nicki proudly posed beside herself - revelling in her unique fame.

Nicki used her illness to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, and to highlight the importance to women of ensuring they attend their regular smear test.

Tony said: “She wasn’t able to do much since the cancer really took hold of her, but she would still get angry about ovarian cancer and lecture people about regular check ups.”

Nicki opted to go on a drug trial, with her driving aim being to help women in the future. Her determination was such that she refused treatments to alleviate any side effects, in case they affected the results.

“Nicki helped others up to her death and beyond,” Tony added. “She was one of a kind.”

Her selflessness was never more obvious than during the floods of December 2015, when Nicki pushed aside her terminal diagnosis and jumped in the family van to offer help to those worst hit by Storm Desmond.

It was her dedication through Eden Flood Volunteers which saw her given The Cumberland News’ #SpiritofCumbria award in 2016. Her nomination labelled her “an absolute hero”.

Nicki died on Friday, and will be cremated at Carlisle Crematorium at 2.20pm on Monday. It is open to anyone.

A cavalcade of motorbikes and choppers will complete ‘Nicki’s final ride’ from Penrith Rugby Club to the crematorium beforehand. Anyone wanting to join the ride is asked to meet at 1pm, ready to ride out at 1.30pm.

A wake will be held at Penrith Cricket Club afterwards.

Anyone wanting to make a donation in Nicki’s memory can send it to: Nicki Butterworth Penrith Day Hospice Amenity Fund, c/o Walker’s Funeral Directors, Tynefield House, Bridge Lane, Penrith, CA11 8HY.

Nicki leaves behind husband Tony, children Jay and Alexandria and granddaughter Kiara.