A WOMAN has paid tribute to her beloved sister after she died at the age of 57 after a long battle with cancer.

Fiona Gibson was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago, and despite beating the disease once it returned five years later and spread to her bones.

However, the former nurse did not let her diagnosis ruin her life, and dedicated herself to raising thousands of pounds for charity.

She embraced everything Cumbrian - from cycling, sailing and horse riding to fell walking - she even accomplished her mission to conquer all of the Wainwrights.

Helen Ball paid an emotional tribute to her sister.

She said: "I know everyone says it about their relatives, but Fiona really was special. She literally spent all her time since getting diagnosed raising money. She was incredible.

"She was just a great person. I'm her little sister and I'm blown away by everything she did. She was just fab.

"She had a saying - 'you can't control the wind, but you can control the sails' - that summed her up."

Fiona was born in Cumbria, but went to London to train as a nurse at Guys Hospital. It was there she met her husband Paul, and the couple returned to Cumbria after their sons, Will (24) and Toby (22) were born.

She became a district nurse and served for many years before moving onto the endoscopy unit at the Cumberland Infirmary.

However, cancer brought an early retirement to the career she loved.

Over the years, she took on countless challenges and headed up many events to raise money for charity. Prior to her diagnosis, she completed the Coast to Coast bike ride to raise money for the Eden Valley Hospice.

One one return to London, she was so moved by a busker named Rob Falsini that she booked him for three gigs - two at Heads Nook Village Hall - to raise money for EVH and Hospice at Home.

Other events included annual Ceilidh dances at the village hall for the same causes.

Even as her cancer progressed and affected her ability to complete the physical activities she loved, Fiona continued to fund-raise.

In 2019, she was one of 60 people from around the UK who took part in a charity walk around Ullswater that raised more than £15,000 to fight secondary cancer.

Helen continued: "She was an absolute force of nature, truly inspirational.

"She insisted on talking part in the Ullswater walk even though her condition was advanced. Determined isn't the word.

"I would love to know how much she raised over the years.

"At every point in life she embraced people and made friends for life from school friends to nursing friends to mum at school gate friends. She befriended all those who she came across from new born to 100 years old."

In her final days, Fiona was cared for by the very hospice staff she had raised money for. Her funeral cortege will travel from Head Nook along Little Corby Road past her childhood home at 11.50am on February 10 for anyone who wishes to pay their respects.