BIG-hearted mum Ann Fazey who last year raised almost £1,300 in memory of a close friend who died of cancer has herself lost a courageous battle against the disease.
Wroughton parish council clerk Ann, 52, – described as a “lovely angel” by a friend – died peacefully on Wednesday morning at her sister Linda Payne’s home in the village.
Last summer Ann, who has a daughter Emily, 18, announced that she would have her distinctive long dark hair shaved off in front of scores of people at The Castle pub in Swindon.
The aim was to commemorate the death a year earlier of one of her best friends, Swindon mother-of-two Jo Jardine.
But as the day of the head-shave approached Ann, a single woman who lived in Wroughton for 17 years, was told that she too had cancer and would require chemotherapy.
Ann decided to go ahead with the event anyway and her eye-catching locks were duly cut off at the climax of an afternoon of music and fun at the Old Town pub in June.
Just two days later Ann went to Oxford to receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment to combat the disease. Her shoulder-length hair was donated to the Little Princess Trust which makes wigs for boys and girls who have lost their own hair through cancer.
Over the following months cash pledges made during the event rolled in and in October Ann presented a cheque of £1,291 to the Prospect Hospice in Wroughton where she was receiving care at the time, and where Jo spent her final days.
Yesterday Emily said: “My mum was a truly inspirational woman. She was lush and she was lovely. She always put other people before herself. Everyone else always came first with her. She was completely selfless. “She had a big heart. She always remained positive during her illness. She was amazing.”
Emily said the staggering news that her mother had cancer made her doubly determined to have her head shaved. “It made the event even more special,” she said.
From her bed at the Prospect Hospice in October Ann told the Adver that remembering Jo was so important to her. “She was such a lovely woman. We had some great times together.
“I wanted to do something to commemorate her and celebrate her amazing life – I loved her so much. “I am delighted that Jo’s teenage sons, Mikey and Lucas, and my daughter Emily, have supported our fundraising. It means a lot to me.”
She modestly played down her own involvement in the fundraising activity, saying: “I’ve not had to do much to do with it, to be honest – apart from sit in the Castle and get my head shaved.”
Yesterday publican Tina McCann, 44, who has known Ann since she became landlady of The Castle nearly seven years ago said: “I feel honoured to have known Ann. She was a lovely angel – always so kind to everyone.
“I don’t think she had a bad bone in her body. She was so sweet. It’s such sad news.”
The Prospect Hospice’s community fundraiser Amy Francombe said they were hugely saddened at the news of Ann’s death.
Amy said: “We were all very touched that, in spite of her illness, Ann and her friends and family have been so generous with their support for Prospect Hospice.”
Ann’s funeral will take place at Wroughton parish church on Monday, January 20 at 2pm followed by cremation at Kingsdown. A wake will be held afterwards at The Castle in Prospect Place, Swindon.