SHE did it her way. Those were the poignant words that summed a life cut tragically short, but lived to the full in the only way Clare Baillie knew how.
More than 200 people turned out to Havant Crematorium yesterday to pay their respects to the inspirational 38-year-old, whose joy for life touched the hearts and minds of so many people.
The mum-of-four, of Kirpal Road, Baffins, lost her three-year battle with cancer after spending one last Christmas with her beloved husband Kane and their family.
Before she died, Clare made a bucket list of things she wanted to do, including going to Disney World in Florida with her family – a wish that sparked #ClaresDisneyDream.
The campaign was backed by The News and led to £12,000 of donations from the local community and celebrities, including Vinnie Jones.
Yesterday people stood arm in arm fighting back tears as Clare’s coffin arrived at the crematorium in a horse-drawn carriage.
A bouquet of beautiful white roses lay on the coffin.
Her husband Kane wept as he helped to carry the coffin into the building to the song Talking to The Moon by Bruno Mars.
The officiant Andy Searson described how Clare was a confident, feisty woman who knew what she wanted out of life.
‘It’s quite a turn-out,’ he said. ‘She got herself a full house.
‘I think she was expecting that as well – she was a confident girl.
‘She’s looking down and humbled to see you all here.’
Mr Searson said Clare was ‘admired’ and ‘adored’ and had an incredible sense of humour.
He said she planned the funeral meticulously and laughed how she had thought of having a ‘Snow White-themed funeral’ with the seven dwarves carrying her in.
‘She spent quite a lot of time reflecting through music,’ he said.
‘She would sit in bed with headphones on, crying to herself through different musical options.’
The funeral heard that Clare grew up in Essex Road, Southsea, and was a cheeky youngster who once made a wedding dress out of her mum’s curtains.
Family was everything to her, the congregation heard.
Mr Searson said Clare was a ‘wonderful, loyal friend’ to so many.
During the service, several happy pictures of Clare – with Kane on holiday, and laughing with friends – were screened on the wall.
Mr Searson spoke of the devastation after Clare was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and her determination to be positive.
‘She was a girl who loved to live life to the full,’ he said.
‘She had so much more to give in life.’
Over the next three years, Clare bravely soldiered on, he said.
‘She gave up therapy treatments,’ he said.
‘She lived every day with a positive outlook to keep things normal.
‘She did it her way. The way she wanted to do it.
‘She maintained this to the very end.
‘Clare said she was meant to get the illness because no-one else would be able to cope with it.’
He added: ‘She took it on the chin.
‘I don’t think bravery really touches it.’
Mr Searson said he had been so moved by Clare’s story that he would be donating his £170 fee to The Rowans Hospice, where Clare spent her final hours.
The final song to be played was Frank Sinatra’s My Way.
Mr Searson said the biggest compliment he could pay was Clare ‘excelling at who she was’.
‘For that I think she deserves a heartfelt round of applause,’ he said.
People stood tall and clapped loudly in memory of Clare.
Kane fell in love with Clare’s ‘sheer beauty’
THERE was a beautiful romance between Clare and her husband Kane, the service heard.
The pair met when Clare was 27 at The Green Dragon pub in Waterlooville. Their eyes met as Clare walked through the door and Kane was wowed by ‘two amazing legs’, said officiant Andy Searson.
‘He was struck by the sheer beauty of this fair maiden,’ he said.
Kane asked Clare to marry him at the finish line of the Great South Run in 2012. ‘He popped the question at the end of the race,’ said Mr Searson.
‘He was too knackered to get down on one knee. He offered the words with staggered breath “Will you marry me?”
‘From that moment on she was like a dog with a bone. She planned everything.’
The pair tied the knot at St Mary’s Church in Fratton in 2013 and had a honeymoon in Turkey.
Kane and the children still plan to go to Disney World later this year and enjoy the holiday that Clare was too ill to go on in the end.
Clare, who died on December 29, also made a bucket list of charities she wanted to help – the British Heart Foundation, Hannah’s Holiday Home, 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. Donate here.