Family grieve for inspirational Beth Clench, who died of cancer aged 24
THE FAMILY of a young woman have paid tribute to her inspirational character after she lost her 18-month battle with cancer.
Beth Clench, of St Andrews Terrace, Par, died last month after a long fight against the disease.
The inspirational courage of the 24-year-old touched the lives of all she met, her family said. "Beth had such strength of character, she never cried, never felt sorry for herself and never asked 'why me?'," her mother, Sue Abbott-Smith, said.
Beth's love of children had led to her taking on a role as primary school teacher in Bath and she had even travelled as a volunteer to build a school in Kenya before she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in February 2012.
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The former Fowey Community College sport's captain for girls had beaten the disease twice through intensive therapy and had been sent to Bristol hospital for a bone marrow transplant and more chemotherapy.
Although the procedure was successful and she was cancer free, Beth, whose immune system had been stripped by the treatment, then faced a battle to fight off pneumonia and other infections.
Despite Beth's bravery her immune system was too weak and she succumbed.
Her heartbroken mum Sue, 49, said: "Beth never talked about 'if I get better' but 'when I get better'."
The 5ft 3in beautiful blonde lived life to the full and was a familiar face in Fowey, particularly at the Galleon, where she had worked on and off since a teenager.
When she was 13 years old Beth met Princess Anne after winning a competition in the National Final of the British Horse Society's equestrian event in Leicestershire.
Beth also played netball for Cornwall and had trained as a teacher after graduating from the University of Wales in Cardiff before she took her first teaching role in a small school in Bath.
Her mum said: "She loved her friends, food, drinking, clubbing and buying clothes and even did some online shopping while she was on the Bone Marrow Transplant unit in Bristol.
"She loved people – young people, old people – and she had a good sense of humour."
During her illness Beth began setting up a new group for young people with cancer, and travelled to London with friends to celebrity hangout Mahiki's where she met some of the cast of reality show The Only Way Is Essex.
She also raised money for MacMillan cancer support alongside her mum and was in the process of organising her mum's 50th birthday celebrations when she died.
Her mum said: "She achieved so much for someone so young.
"So many people loved her and everybody says she was an inspiration to so many. I have been told you never get over losing a child but you learn to cope a little better day by day.
"At the moment it still doesn't seem real to us."
Those whose lives Beth touched lined the streets of the village to St Fimbarrus church in Fowey where more than 400 people attended her funeral and some businesses closed as a mark of respect. The final service was held at Penmount Crematorium in Truro.
Her mum added: "People came from all over. People whose lives she touched and all her friends. They all said how brave and strong she was.
"Beth never wanted people to know she had cancer, she never wanted people to ask how she was or feel sorry for her and I think she pulled it off quite well."
Donations in her memory are for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and CLIC Sargent through www.justgiving.com/bethclenchclic and www.justgiving.com/BethclenchLLR
Alternatively cash and cheques can be sent to Paul Bourton Funeral Service, 37-41 Truro Road, St Austell.
The family would also like to raise money for a bench as a lasting memorial to Beth in the churchyard and will be setting up a Facebook page 'Beth's Inspiration'.
Beth also leaves behind dad, Mark Clench and brother Harry, 10, and other close family members.