SHE was an inspirational mum whose life was cruelly taken in the prime of her life.
Now friends and family of Clare Baillie are determined that her legacy lives on to help needy causes close to her heart.
The mum-of-four died on December 29 at The Rowans Hospice aged 38, surrounded by her family, following a three-year battle with cancer.
Before she died, Clare made a bucket list of things she wanted to do, including going to Disney World in Florida with her husband Kane and their children – a wish that sparked #ClaresDisneyDream, a campaign backed by The News that led to around £12,000 of donations from the local community and celebrities including Vinnie Jones.
Unfortunately, Clare’s condition meant she could not fly to America but that money will still be used to pay for her four children and Kane to go to Disney World.
Clare, of Kirpal Road, Baffins, also wanted to raise a total of £4,000 to be split between four charities, but became too ill last year to fulfil her wish.
Now best friend Gina Tillett is determined to achieve it.
The 35-year-old said: ‘She wanted to do this herself, but she became too unwell.
‘This is what Clare wanted.
She desperately wanted this while she was alive. She wasn’t strong enough to do it, but now we can do it for her.
‘We can’t bring her back, but this is the next best thing we can do.
‘She did so much fundraising, even while she had cancer. This is the least we can do for her now.’
The charities to be helped are British Heart Foundation, Hannah’s Holiday Home, which provides breaks for local families with sick children, Cancer Relief, and South Coast Staffie Rescue.
The fundraising drive still has to raise another £3,000 to complete all of Clare’s dying wishes, which include the charity cash and a piece of jewellery to be made from her ashes to give to Kane and her children.
Gina said coping with Clare’s death had been difficult for everyone.
‘We are still in disbelief,’ she said.
‘I look at her pictures on Facebook and it’s hard to think she’s not here any more. She had a really unique sense of humour, which is probably why we got on. She was such a massive personality it’s a massive loss.’
Kane and the children, Ryan, 19, Lucy, 17, Albie, eight, and Evie-Mae, three, still plan to go to Disney World for the holiday. They are trying to be brave,’ said Gina. ‘They are trying to be positive.’
Clare will be laid to rest next Thursday and the Spinnaker Tower will be lit up in blue as a tribute as a ‘blue star’ became synonymous with #ClaresDisneyDream.
Gina said Clare had certainly left her mark.
Just one example of her generosity was when she spearheaded a fundraising drive for Lucy Jenkins, a mum from Waterlooville who died in 2014 at the age of 25 from a brain tumour.
Clare saw a poster about Lucy’s plight in the One Stop store in Cowplain and went on to help raise £20,000 for ‘Lucy’s Last Wish’.
‘She was just an inspiration,’ said Gina. ‘She would say “live each day like it’s your last” and that’s what she did.
‘She promised her kids she was going to be there for Christmas. She was so poorly in the run-up to Christmas but she did it for her kids and that takes strength.’
To donate visit campaign.justgiving.com/charity/staffierescuesr/claresdisneydream. Gina is also planning a charity auction. If anyone can donate items please email firstname.lastname@example.org