Tributes to courageous and campaigning Hartlepool mum after losing cancer battle

Nicola (centre) surrounded by friends at Hartlepool United where she worked as a steward and away fans team leader.Nicola (centre) surrounded by friends at Hartlepool United where she worked as a steward and away fans team leader.
Nicola (centre) surrounded by friends at Hartlepool United where she worked as a steward and away fans team leader.
Tributes have been paid to a campaigning mum of three who lost a brave battle with cancer after twice defying the odds.

Nicola Kenny, who was just 43, fought tirelessly for a number of Hartlepool causes including the town’s hospital and was a much-loved and valued teaching assistant at St Bega’s Primary School.

She passed away surrounded by her sons Kaleb, 23, Joel, 20 and Zac, 10, at Alice House Hospice on Saturday, January 2.

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Nicola, a proud Headlander, was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer last May but never gave up.

Nicola (left) with colleagues at St Bega's Primary School.Nicola (left) with colleagues at St Bega's Primary School.
Nicola (left) with colleagues at St Bega's Primary School.

Friends and colleagues praised her kind, generous, supportive and outspoken nature and said she will be greatly missed.

They have raised over £5,000 for Alice House and towards a memorial bench on a GoFundMe page created by her family.

Son Kaleb said the hospice’s care helped Nicola to defy the odds twice after stays in August and again in December giving her extra time with her family.

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He said: “In September they managed to get Mam back on her feet and home for a couple of months just before her birthday.

Nicola Kenny with son Zac.Nicola Kenny with son Zac.
Nicola Kenny with son Zac.

"We were going to the Mecca which we never thought we would be able to do.

"We just wouldn’t have had that quality time had it not been for Alice House. It’s an absolutely unbelievable place.”

On Christmas Eve Nicola’s family were again warned she may go at any time. But on Christmas morning Kaleb awoke to a Facetime call from Nicola asking when he was going to visit.

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"She just didn’t want to give up,” he said. “She hit every single landmark she set herself.”

Friend Derrick Rowbotham said: “Nicola worked tirelessly in our Save Our Hospital group and stood with myself and Keith Fisher in our efforts to save our hospital.

"She was a wonderful person who I am proud to say was a friend.”

Fellow campaigner Kath Mathieson said Nicola’s direct manner and knowledge of details made her a force to be reckoned with but always kept a sense of fun and fairness.

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Nicola was also a founding member of Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital with Michelle McIntyre and Glen Hughes who said: “She will be a massive miss for the group and the town in our continuing struggle.

"Above all else a massive miss to the three children she leaves behind, if they have Nicola’s spirit then they won’t go far wrong.”

Colleagues at St Bega's told how she took many pupils to sports events always cheering the loudest, on camping trips, organised fundraisers and generally helped anyone she could.

Liz Webb, mum of former disabled pupil Neisha Webb who Nicola helped, said: “There aren't the words to thank her for what she did and who she was. RIP beautiful lady, you will be so very sadly missed.”

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In the 90s Nicola was also a valued volunteer support worker for Barnardo’s Hartbeat project taking children on trips, skating, swimming doing crafts.

And she will be greatly missed by staff at Hartlepool United where she worked as a member of the bar staff.

Nicola also leaves behind brothers Liam and Gerard and parents Gerry and Jacqui.

Her funeral is on Tuesday, January 12, at Stranton Crematorium at 12pm. Mourners may pay their respects outside the chapel.

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