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Generous, selfless... and so brave; Tributes as Jo-Anne loses her battle.

Byline: ANDY PASSANT

A CANCER-STRICKEN mum has lost her brave fight for life just months after marrying her long-time love.

Jo-Anne McFarlane was given only months to live after it was discovered she was terminally ill with cancer.

The devastating news prompted Jo-Anne and partner Chris Dalton to tie the knot after more than 20 years together.

Jo-Anne was too weak to go through with a church ceremony and the wedding was held instead at her Middlesbrough home.

Sadly, Jo-Anne lost her battle against cancer last Sunday.

Her 38th birthday had been on August 4. Hundreds of people said a final farewell to her at her funeral service yesterday.

The funeral took place at Teesside Crematorium, with mourners gathering afterwards at the Cargo Fleet Club.

One of her sisters, Julie Winward, paid a moving tribute to Jo-Anne.

Julie, 47, of Netherfields, told the Gazette: "We are at peace knowing she is at peace.

"Obviously we are all devastated.

She was just marvellous. She really was an inspiration .

"She was generous and selfless, so brave."

There was laughter as well as tears at her funeral as family and friends remembered Jo-Anne.

Julie said: "It is nice we can laugh. She would want us to. We are all here in different colours, she didn't want black."

Julie said they were looking at doing something in her memory, possibly next year's Race for Life event.

Speaking to the Gazette in June, Jo-Anne said she had "good days and bad days", adding: "I just take one day at a time."

Jo-Anne was born on the Netherfields estate and lived there all her life.

She was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

The mum had a mastectomy and was later given the all-clear.

But tragically the cancer returned and in the end proved inoperable and terminal.

Husband Chris, 43, who took her surname McFarlane, previously told the Gazette: "They just said there was no more they can do.

"They gave her three months to live. It has been a nightmare really but we have just got on with it."

The couple's wedding was held on May 30 at the home where Jo-Anne was born in Grasby Close, Netherfields.

Hundreds of family, friends and neighbours helped them to celebrate their big day.

Chris described it as "the best day of our lives."

Jo-Anne, a former pupil of Ormesby School, leaves a daughter, Abbie, 17.

Family and friends recently climbed Roseberry Topping to raise money for her.

More than 30 people took part in the walk to the summit and back down again.

Jo-Anne was able to make it to the foot of Roseberry Topping, where she waited, in her wheelchair, with friends.

CAPTION(S):

LOVE: Jo-Anne and Chris McFarlane on their wedding day, top, as reported, left, and Jo-Anne with friends and family, above
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2009
Words:469
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