THE death of Janice Clark left a gaping hole in the lives of those who knew her, but also prompted loved ones to raise thousands of pounds for charity in her memory.

Her family said the 50-year-old, who died from her injuries after falling from the Gill Bridge, near her home in Consett, regularly raised funds for causes close to her heart.

A former captain with the British Army, she served with the forces for around seven years before focussing on teaching, charity challenges and travelling the world.

Miss Clark was raised in Consett, attending Blackfyne Comprehensive School, in Blackhill, before studying geology at Kingston University in London.

She then trained as an officer at Sandhurst, graduating on August 10, 1992, 25 years to the day before she died.

She had two decades of mental ill health, with regular spells in hospital but her family also remember the lively, superfit, globe-trotting woman who saw the world.

A family spokesman said: “She was bubbly, strong and independent. She was happy at times, without the mental illness.

“She walked across the Himalayas, from the east to the west, her and another army officer.

“She did a lot of fundraising for charity and was an expedition leader.

“She would do walking through places like Machu Picchu, through deserts, and across South America and Africa. She climbed Kilimanjaro.

The Northern Echo:

“She did the Iron Man in America, which was three-and-a-half miles swimming, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon. She did it in under 12-and-a-half hours at 40 odd years of age.”

Miss Clark also worked as a teacher in the region.

The spokesman said: “She taught at quite a few schools and worked with the behaviourally disturbed kids. She did it for a while and then went into contract teaching, doing that and her stuff around the world.”

When she died she left her mother, Margaret, 79, brother Steven, 49, and two nephews, Thai, 17, and 16-year-old Kian.

Since Miss Clark’s death family and friends have raised over £8,500 for the Great North Air Ambulance and her cousin, Emily Clark, did a cycle ride from the County Durham cricket stadium in Chester-le-street, to London for the If You Care Share Foundation, a suicide charity based at Great Lumley.

The family spokesman said: “Every year or so she would become ill and spent time in hospital, but she never had a diagnosis that stuck. It kept changing, depending how far downhill she went. We never got to the bottom of it. After she came she came out she was bouncy and would do all sorts of things like skiing and swimming in rivers. Her death has affected all of her family and friends and her nephews, all of the people she knew, including the police officers who were on the bridge.”

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