Inspirational Hartlepool mother dies days before receiving prestigious award (From The Northern Echo)
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Inspirational Hartlepool mother Denise Smith dies days before receiving prestigious award
A MOTHER who worked tirelessly to help vulnerable children died just days before receiving a prestigious national award.
On Saturday night (March 9), Hartlepool mother-of-three Denise Smith, 54, was recognised at the national Inspiration Awards for Women ceremony, organised by Gloria Hunniford in memory of her daughter, Caron Keating.
Mrs Smith was a retired Cleveland Police officer who had received commendations after devoting years to the force’s child protection unit.
After retiring, she completed a psychology degree, became a carer for an autistic child, fostered two more children and embarked upon a series of fundraising events for a mental health charity.
She died from a rare form of cancer on Tuesday, March 5, shortly after finding out that she had been nominated as a finalist in the ‘Inspirational Mother’ category at the prestigious ceremony.
HONOURED: Denise Smith
Her daughter, Tammy, 28, and mother Ethel Wilson, travelled to London yesterday (Sunday, March 10) to accept the award on her behalf.
Tammy nominated Mrs Smith for the award, saying: “My mum is one in a million. She's always been a perfect loving and supportive mother to my brothers and I.
"She's the most positive person I know, who would go to the moon and back not just for family and friends, but for anyone in need.”
Her two sons, Alex and Andrew, also paid tribute to their mother. Alex, 29, said: “She wanted to make the world a happier place and make children safer and she worked and worked to do that.
"She did not let anything stop her.”
Andrew, 26, added: “She was so positive and always pushing us to do anything we wanted to.
"She never tried to hold us back and even when she was ill, she waited as long as she could before calling us back. She did not want our lives to stop for her.”
Husband Tom, 57, said: “No-one deserved the award more than Denise and she would be very happy with it. It has been a big comfort to us, but it is a shame Denise was not there to pick it up herself.”
Next year, Mrs Smith's husband and children will pay tribute to her and raise funds for Cancer Research and the Hartlepool and District Hospice by trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro. A fundraising page has also been set up in her memory at justgiving.com/teams/deesmith.
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