Tributes to tireless worker Margaret

FAMILY, friends and admirers of a woman who worked tirelessly to help fellow cancer sufferers crowded into Gimingham Church for her funeral on Friday. Margaret High died in Priscilla Bacon Lodge on July 10 after a courageous battle with the disease which first began 12 years ago.

FAMILY, friends and admirers of a woman who worked tirelessly to help fellow cancer sufferers crowded into Gimingham Church for her funeral on Friday.

Margaret High died in Priscilla Bacon Lodge on July 10 after a courageous battle with the disease which first began 12 years ago.

Despite acute pain and disability, Mrs High, 66, was still producing crafts, which she sold to raise money for cancer patients, three weeks before her death.

Her outstanding efforts on behalf of the community were recognised in April when she was presented with a civic award by North Walsham Town Council.

And her selfless caring for others has been praised by proud family members.

Mrs High, of Kendall Close, North Walsham, began selling her handiwork to fund refreshments for her Norfolk and Norwich Hospital support group after she was successfully treated for breast cancer in 1996, raising £400.

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She never looked back and went on to make and sell thousand of items, raising countless thousands of pounds for cancer patients.

Her Christmas decorations, quilts, dolls' clothes, aprons, peg bags, baby blankets, cushions and Norwich City teddy bears have bought items including the new university hospital's first computer for use by patients, electric thermometers, blood-pressure machines, cushions for chemotherapy patients, a 42in plasma TV for the radiotherapy waiting area, a DVD player and DVDs.

Her last purchase was 20 pillows for the hospital's Mulbarton cancer ward.

Born in Sidestrand, Mrs High, née Wayte, was one of five children whose father worked as a farm manager at Gimingham.

After leaving secondary school in Cromer, she worked in shops, including Woolworth's at North Walsham, and with her father on the farm.

She married Albert High in 1960 and joked that she was attracted to him because he rode a motorbike.

The couple later farmed at Hall Farm, Bacton, and Odessa Farm, Witton Bridge, where Mrs High helped with chores and raised their children, Kevin, Alan and Trudy.

A huge fan of rock musicals and especially the band Queen, Mrs High went down to London to see Queen tribute show We Will Rock You about a dozen times.

Her home was filled with Queen memorabilia and she had met band members, including Brian May who sent her a card last year wishing her well. Queen songs were played at her funeral.

After her cancer returned in 2005, Mrs High spent more and more time on her craftwork, working from home and hospital, surrounded by family, including grandchildren, and many visiting friends.

Among those at her funeral were those who remembered her making the teas at Bacton Football Club for over 20 years, friends of her son Kevin who dubbed the High's home “Mag's Cafe” because she had treated them so hospitably in their teens, staff from the Norfolk and Norwich, and fellow cancer patients.

Mrs High's ashes will be interred in Gimingham Churchyard, where she was a regular worshipper and where her parents and grandparents are buried.

Her daughter Trudy is determined to carry on her mother's fund-raising craftwork.

Son Kevin said: “My mother was a big giver in life, never a taker. She will leave a gap in the lives of everybody who knew her. I'm totally proud of everything she did.”

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