A devastated family are fundraising for a memorial bench in honour of a former Pride in Peterborough winner who has passed away aged 29.
Mum-of-three Samantha Walker died from pancreatic cancer having not long recovered from a heart blockage which had left her in a coma.
Samantha had hoped to join her family on a trip to Disneyland Paris later this year, but now the family will undertake that trip in her honour while continuing to fundraise for a garden bench where children William (10), Lilly (6) and Isabelle (2) can remember their mummy.
Samantha passed away just a day after Lilly’s sixth birthday, and husband Lee said there were not enough words to describe how much he loved his wife.
He said: “She showed me what a happy family is supposed to be. I just love her to pieces. She was the most caring person anybody could ever wish for.
“She raised money for people even when she was poorly.
“She was the person that when a storm hit, I always had her. She made life seem easy.”
Samantha, of Parnwell, won the Peterborough Telegraph’s Pride in Peterborough award in 2013 after raising funds to transform a house so that a little boy with leukaemia could spend his final months at home.
But, in January 2015 she was in a coma for four weeks after suffering a pulmonary embolism - a blockage in the pulmonary artery - which saw her resuscitated twice at Peterborough City Hospital.
She was then diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year later.
The Peterborough Telegraph spoke to her in May 2016 when Samantha said she was remaining positive and confident that she could make another stirring recovery.
However, her brave fight ended last month in Peterborough City Hospital where she was surrounded by family including Lee and mum Mandy Niemc.
Mandy, of Dogsthorpe, said: “Her last words were ‘you need to get Lee’. We were together and that’s what she wanted.”
Mandy said Samantha continued to help people despite being gravely ill in hospital.
She added: “The main thing that describes Sam was that she was happy. She was very inspirational to people. She did not have a bad bone in her body.
“She was a brilliant mum - her children adored her. And she did so much for the community.
“As a mum I don’t think anybody could be as proud as I am. She had a big smile, a beautiful smile, full of life.”
Mandy said Samantha had done an excellent job in preparing her children for the worst.
She added: “The children know everything. She’s now an angel and gone to heaven.
“We’ve always been honest. One of the things Sam did was sit with the children and she told them that if she was to die they would be happy, would be married, would have a good life and would stay with Lee.
“She prepared them really well. They’re really upset but they understand it better.
“The children are keeping me going. I’m heart-broken - she was my world. The best thing that ever happened to me.”
To donate to the memorial bench visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/colin-martin-705.
‘Oncology ward were superb’
Mandy has thanked staff at Peterborough City Hospital’s Oncology Ward for the way they looked after her daughter Samantha while she fought pancreatic cancer.
She said the support was “second to none,” adding: “Every time we went in nothing was too much trouble.
“Even if she was at home not feeling well she could ring them and they always found a bed for her.”
Donations at Samantha’s funeral went to the Oncology Ward, with more than £1,000 being raised.