A TRAGIC mum who died just hours after giving birth once saved her toddler niece from drowning, her devastated husband has revealed.
Proud Anthony Jones spoke of the time his beloved wife Joanne leaped into a swimming pool fully-clothed to rescue her two-year-old niece Tabatha Swinburne.
The drama happened in 2006 when the couple were part of a big family holiday of around 20 adults and children at Lake Garda in Italy.
It was the first day of their holiday when Tabatha stepped into the hotel swimming pool.
Anthony, 33, said: “She was wearing a rubber ring but it was too big for her and she fell under the water.”
Nobody saw it happen but quick-thinking Joanne saw two little hands popping up from the water and quickly jumped in.
“She shouted Anthony, Anthony, and just ran from the other side of the pool and jumped in fully clothed,” said Anthony, a self-employed plasterer, of Kingsley Avenue, Hartlepool.
“Joanne pulled Tabatha out of the water and she coughed up loads of water.
“Nobody saw what happened apart from Joanne. She was quick off the mark, otherwise Tabatha could have died.”
The story is just one of many that Joanne’s family will tell to her son Riley about his mum when he grows older.
Joanne, 35, tragically died just hours after giving birth to the beautiful boy in the University Hospital of North Tees last Wednesday.
It was after her heart stopped beating during a routine operation to remove her placenta after it failed to deliver.
An inquest into her death was opened and adjourned at Teesside Coroner’s Court yesterday.
Anthony, who described Joanne, as “the best mam in the world” also spoke of Joanne’s pride in her work at St Cuthbert’s Primary School in Hartlepool and also her children, Connie Letts-Jones, 11, and Millie, eight.
He said: “Joanne wanted her kids to be happy and do well in school and life.
“She was so proud of Millie and Connie’s last reports.
“She believed in all the children at St Cuthbert’s where she taught one to one support and was really happy with the progress the kids were making.
“She thought the world of all the kids at the school.”
Riley, who was born a month prematurely, is still being cared for in hospital but Anthony hopes he will be allowed to come home at the end of this week.