Hundreds say a final farewell to truly brave Sheffield mum-of-three Eilish Jennings

Brave and courageous were the two most commonly used words by mourners to describe a Sheffield mum-of-three at her funeral today.  

The words are sometimes overused and their ubiquity can lead to them losing their true meaning.

The hearse makes its way to the church

The hearse makes its way to the church

But not in this case. Eilish Jennings died suddenly on January 7 after spending the last nine months of her life fighting breast cancer.

The teaching assistant was 34 weeks pregnant when she received the devastating news that she had cancer.

She had a double mastectomy after giving birth in 2016 and thought she had beaten the disease.

But in March last year – on the second birthday of her twin boys – Eilish was told the disease had returned and it was something the NHS could not cure.

Eilish Jennings

Eilish Jennings

Her devoted partner Simon Hobson launched a fundraising campaign to fund treatment and said it reached around £200,000 before her death.

Hundreds of mourners turned out at St Vincent's Catholic Church in Crookes for the funeral as the procession made its way down a Pickmere Road which was scattered with patches of snow.

The hearse was lined with flowers which spelt 'mummy' and a pair of angel wings sat in the rear windscreen, wrapped with pink ribbon with Eilish printed on it.

Simon and the couple’s three children – twin boys Billy and Tom, both two, and Elsie, five – were greeted outside the church before Simon helped carry the coffin inside.

The funeral of Eilish Jennings at St Vincents Catholic Church at Crookes

The funeral of Eilish Jennings at St Vincents Catholic Church at Crookes

The church was packed with mourners and it was standing room only with hundreds wanting to say a final farewell to a relative, friend or colleague.

Eilish, of Norfolk Park, had received cancer treatment and chemotherapy in Portugal and Germany, thanks to the generoisty of those who donated to the fundraising appeal.

Her courage and determination to beat the disease for a second time was almost tangible.

Speaking to The Star, when they launched the fundraising campaign, Eilish said: “Ultimately, I just want more time with my beautiful children, Elsie, Billy and Tom, and, of course, Simon.”

Her determination was mirrored by Simon who drove a fundraising campaign to fund her treatment.

It saw donations from people across the country, snooker stars when the World Championships came to Sheffield in April also contributed and a number of fundraising events were held throughout 2018.

When Simon first contacted The Star, you could sense the determination in his voice when he set about the ambitious plan to raise the staggering six-figure sum.

But while it might have been ambitious, backed by the family’s sheer determination, it certainly wasn’t unrealistic and the campaign saw £26,000 donated in just one day.

Eilish originally went to Northern general Hospital feeling dizzy and unwell earlier this month.

She died with her family by her side on Monday, January 7.

Simon said: “We didn't expect this at all. Knowing what we know, and leaving three kids behind, if she would have had time to think about it and prepare it would maybe have been easier.

“She ended up dying of a blood clot that was stopping her heart pumping blood out.”

Paying tribute to Eilish he said: “She was amazing and so brave.”