A STAUNCH health campaigner who fought until the bitter end will forever be an inspiration to her family.

Wendy Gavin was told she had just six months to live but outlived her cancer prognosis for six years.

It was a harrowing time but the grandmother was determined to leave a legacy.

She became instrumental in a series of health campaigns including an attempt to rescue Dorson House - the only crisis drop-in centre for Tendring.

In 2011, she sought to launch an A&E service for patients with mental health issues. Her fight also helped to keep the Peter Bruff mental health ward open.

Ms Gavin, who lived in Clacton, said being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer at 53 was a “huge shock”.

However, she refocused her attention on helping others.

Ms Gavin died earlier this month aged 58.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Committed - Wendy rallying Clacton MP Douglas Carswell to sign petition for Peter Bruff

Her daughter Rebecca Wood, 36, said: “She was not only my mum but my best friend - an inspiration to me and so many others. A part of me has gone with her.

“Her arms were always open to others. Although she was a mum first, voluntary work was a huge part of her life which even took her to Gambia for relief work.”

Ms Gavin was born in Nottinghamshire, moving to Clacton when she married.

She had three children and eight grandchildren.

Her dramatic life was catalogued in an autobiography, which she never got to see published before she died.

The book was on her bucket list of things to do.

One of the items she did tick off was watching Arsenal play at the Emirates Stadium last year.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

A talented writer, Ms Gavin had wrote poems her entire life and penned an original song - Heaven is Waiting - as a final message to her children.

It was available to buy on iTunes with the proceeds going towards extra Macmillan nurses and a chemotherapy treatment centre at Clacton Hospital.

Rebecca said: “In her last few weeks she had outstanding support from Marie Curie and district nurses, who we’d sincerely like to thank, especially Barry Morgan.

"We’d also like to say thank you to Beautiful Brides, who donated the pink dress she’ll be buried in.

“My mum has left a big hole in many people’s hearts and will be missed by us all.”

  • The funeral is on April 6, starting at 11.45am at Burrs Road Chapel before going on to Burrs Cemetery. The wake is at Robert Burre pub in Burrs Road, Clacton.