Southsea grandmother of six, 62, remembered as ‘fun’, ‘kind’, and ‘truly generous’ after her passing just three weeks following leukaemia diagnosis

A FAMILY is paying tribute to a ‘truly generous’ Southsea grandmother who passed away just weeks after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Thursday, 16th June 2022, 11:36 am

Shiona Coleman, mother of three and grandmother to six, died in Australia after travelling to see her family after being kept apart by Covid for years.

Those that knew 62-year-old Shiona are remembering her as ‘genuinely larger than life with a wicked sense of humour and fun’.

Family members say that the long-time Portsmouth resident, who was born on July 1, 1959, made a ‘real and lasting impression on anyone who met her’.

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Shiona on a previous trip to Australia.

Shiona’s son James, 43, said: ‘She had a particular empathy for anyone who was suffering or who had been through hard times. She really just wanted to be kind to everyone.’

On May 5 this year, Shiona set out on the 10,500-mile journey to meet her grandson Jimmy for the first time, as well as see her daughter Liz, 32, and Liz’s other son Michael.

Shiona’s mother, 92-year old Isle of Wight resident Margaret Coleman, had recently passed away, and Shiona and Liz had agreed to spend the time together in Australia to remember her.

James said: ‘For weeks before, they planned all the things they would do when she arrived but, more than anything, all they wanted to do was feel a real life hug for the first time in nearly three years.’

Shiona with her mum on her 80th birthday.

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However, a day after arriving in Brisbane, Shiona was taken unwell and admitted to hospital.

Only a few days later she was diagnosed with leukaemia and, tragically, was told she only had weeks to live.

James flew to Brisbane to be with his mother and sister, while Shiona’s other daughter Laura, 39, provided support from the UK.

Shiona with her mum just before Christmas 2021.

However, the cancer was aggressive and treatment options ran out.

On June 5, only three weeks and two days after her diagnosis, Shiona sadly passed away.

James said: ‘One of her favourite things about Australia was the birds.

‘She complained in the hospital that she wanted privacy, wished she could be outside and breathe fresh air, watch the birds and spend time with her grandchildren.

Shiona with Liz

‘In her last days she was transferred to a palliative care unit where she got her own room with a big window looking out to a garden with palm trees and the breeze touching her skin.

‘Mikey and Jimmy played happily in her room and got to tell Grandma how much they loved her.

‘In the days and hours before her passing, she held on tightly to her children’s hands and could hear the birds singing outside her window.’

‘Fiercely proud’ of her family, Shiona is survived by her three children as well as her six grandchildren: Carmen, 18, Maddy, 17, Lucy, 15, Luka, nine, Michael, five, and Jimmy, two.

James, Laura and Liz ask: ‘hold the ones you love tight for us, in the end love and family was all that mattered’, and say ‘they would give anything to have just one more day’.

Shiona with Laura.

Shiona’s ashes will journey back to Portsmouth, and a celebration of her life will be held at Spice Island from midday on July 3.

The theme for this event will be tie dye, as Shiona loved arts and crafts and had recently developed a passion for tie dying ‘anything and everything’.

Liz with Mikey and Jimmy in Grandma’s Tie Dye T-shirts that were sent to Australia. She packed kits to show Mikey how they were made but, unfortunately, never got to show him how the ‘magic’ worked
Shiona with Maddy and Lucy on holiday in Cyprus.
Shiona with James in February 2022 having a morning coffee at the Spice Island, Old Portsmouth.
Shiona with Laura and her grandchildren Carmen and Luka.