Mum who collapsed while drinking coffee had a ‘heart of gold’, heartbroken family says

Maggie Carley, 44, collapsed and died at her Mereside home while relaxing with a craft magazine and cup of coffee, leaving her family and friends heartbroken.
Maggie Carley, 44, collapsed and died at her Mereside home while relaxing with a craft magazine and cup of coffee, leaving her family and friends heartbroken.
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A mum who died suddenly following a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis had a ‘heart of gold’, her devastated mother said.

Maggie Carley, 44, collapsed at her Mereside home while relaxing with a craft magazine and cup of coffee, leaving her family and friends heartbroken.

Tributes have poured in for the former St George’s pupil, whose funeral was held yesterday, and were led by mum Bernie.

“Maggie was such a rock to everybody,” she said. “She used to say, ‘When I die, you have remember I’m not struggling anymore.’

Mourners were set to wear shades of pink at a funeral service held at Carleton Crematorium from 12.30pm, with a gathering held at the Marton Institute afterwards.

It was there they remembered and honoured a woman who Bernie said never let her illness define her, and who fought to the very end.

Born in Northern Ireland, Maggie moved to Blackpool with her family in the ‘80s, and also went to Mereside Primary School.

Able to lead a relatively normal life, she had son Shamus, now 24, and most recently worked as a kitchen assistant.

Her illness, caused by a fault gene that leads of a build-up of sticky mucus in the lungs, digestive system and other organs, began ‘catching up with her’ when she was in her 30s, Bernie said.

Around eight years ago, she was referred to the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Wythenshaw Hospital, and suffered from a series of chest infections.

In recent months, Maggie needed oxygen tubes to help her breathe, was struggling to move about, and spent a month in hospital after falling ill.

She had been home in Branstree Road for around five weeks when she collapsed without warning.

“We thought she was okay,” Bernie said. “She was not ill like she had been before. She was just struggling a lot.

“She had a cup of coffee and was looking at some craft stuff, and died so suddenly, inside three or four minutes.”

Bernie, who was at the home Maggie shared with Shamus, began CPR as paramedics were called to the street, close to Mereside Park.

The medics tried in vain to resusitate Maggie, who enjoyed making things for others, but were unsuccessful.

Maggie is understood to have died from heart failure, a common cause of death for people with cystic fibrosis.

“Shamus is in bits,” Bernie added. “It’s very hard for him. This house was so full of laughter; it sounds so empty now.This has devastated our family.

“It’s a blessing she went so quickly. That helps a bit.”

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects around 10,800 people in the UK – around one in every 2,500 babies born.

All newborns are screened shortly after birth, with both sexes of all ethnic backgrounds equally affected.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust said it is ‘misleading’ to suggest there is an average life expectance, because the condition can affect people differently.

The predicted median survival age is currently 41, it said, though babies born today can expect to live longer.

Bernie added: “Maggie had a heart of gold. Even though she was poorly she never moaned. She just go with it. She focused on the things she could do.”

Maggie’s partner, Paul Shorrocks, informed his Facebook friends of her death with a moving post, in which he said: “She battled very hard with cystic fibrosis.She never gave up and she will be sadly missed.”

Paula Addenbrooke added: “We will all miss Maggie in our own way. She was a lovely lady.

“Our Paul and Maggie were made for each other. I am glad they found each other when they did. They made each other happy.”

And Emma Kay wrote: “Heaven has gained a beautiful angel. She will never be forgotten. She was a beautiful person with a big heart.”

Bernie wished to thank the hard-working staff on the Cystic Fibrosis Unit at Wythenshaw Hospital, and Molly Lee, who met and grew close to Maggie there. Donations to the unit are being accepted in lieu of flowers.