Fifty-four-year-old Sharon Granger died at her home in Clare Place in Newmarket last week with her family by her side.
It had been her dearest wish to have lived long enough to see the birth of her second grandchild, who is due on New Year’s Day, but it was not to be.
But she died keeping a very special secret. Her daughter Stephanie had a DVD of her unborn baby made specially for her mum.
“She had some photos and also a note with the gender of the baby which only she saw,” said Stephanie.
“She was the only one who knew and she would not tell anyone.”
Since her death, Sharon’s partner of 15 years, John McGunnigle, said he had been overwhelmed with the messages of support he had received.
“Sharon was a very special person, she was a people person,” he said. “The messages people have written in the cards I have received have been really touching , she really was a very special lady.”
Born and brought up in Newmarket, Sharon was a former pupil at Houldsworth Valley and Ditton Lodge primary school and Newmarket Upper School. Her first job on leaving was at the former Woolworth’s store in the High Street. She later established her own beauty business, Reflections at her home which she had run for around 20 years.
“It was ideal for her,” said her sister, Sue Richardson, “because not only was she the consummate professional, her personality meant she became a confidant to so many of her clients.”
Her parents, who live nearby have also been left heartbroken. Sharon’s mum, Joan Gardiner had also battled breast cancer but was given the all clear just a week before her daughter’s illness was confirmed.
Long time friend, Laraine Moody, said: “We called her the mothership because she had a knack of bringing people together and she brought us all together. She had a zest for life and that was infectious.
“When Sharon was diagnosed she didn’t like using the word cancer, she just said she had bad cells and she was an inspiration in the way she dealt with her difficulties. Everyone who knew Sharon will have been touched by what a beautiful person she was.
“She was so proud she came from such an amazing family and was adored by John, Stephanie and her son Shaun.” Sharon also had a close and loyal band of friends and was determined her illness would not stop her enjoying herself with them.
“There was always someone worse off than her,” said Laraine. “No matter how bad things were she was determined to laugh about it and get on with her life as best she could. Before she died she gave each of her closest friends a special memento and left letters for each of us. Heaven has gained a very special person in Sharon.”
Her funeral service will be at Newmarket’s All Saints’ Church on Tuesday at 1pm. Donations will be for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Macmillan Ward at West Suffolk Hospital.