A PROUD mother has paid an emotional tribute to her ‘caring and loving’ daughter after she lost her brave battle with cancer.
Dance teacher Susan Thompson, 48, died last Sunday after a five-week stay at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.
Mrs Thompson – who taught under her maiden name Susan Graham – was first diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago.
It was treated, but returned and spread to her stomach.
Her mother, Maureen Lemon, 70, said her daughter was ‘desperate to live’ for her beloved family, including husband David, 49, and two sons Elliot, 14 and Oliver, eight.
Mrs Lemon said: “She was such a strong person. She just wanted to live so much and would do anything to fight the cancer. She kept saying, ‘I’m not giving in.”
“She was such a loving and caring person and loved kids. She loved working with them at the dance school. She lived for her two bairns.
“I have had so many cards and well-wishes. There are hundreds of people who she has taught at the dance school and we are expecting a big turn-out at the funeral.”
Mrs Thompson had run Susan Graham School of Dance for more than 30 years at Whitburn Community Centre and later at Whitburn Methodist Church.
She continued to guide the next generation of dancers until just a few weeks before she died. The mother-of-two was also due to celebrate her silver anniversary with husband David later this month.
Her death has devastated the close-knit family, which includes older brother David, 50 and younger brother Gary, 46.
Mrs Thompson, of Grosvenor Drive, Cleadon, lived a short walk from her mother in East Drive.
Mrs Lemon added: “She would pop round every day. She always had a smile on her face. That’s how I remember her, coming through the front door with a wide smile on her face.
“She was always so positive. She was such a fighter.”
Mrs Lemon is also full of praise for the medical team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, adding: “I can’t fault them at all. They were absolutely fantastic. Susan never wanted to go into a hospice as she was cared for so well by the staff.”
Mrs Lemon says she takes comfort from the outpouring of goodwill she has received since her daughter’s death.
She said: “There have been lots of good wishes from people who Susan taught at her dance school.
“I remembered many of them as children and a lot of them are now married with children themselves.”
As well as running her own dance school, Mrs Thompson also worked for 30 years at South Tyneside Council’s benefits and revenue department.
Her family and friends will gather for her funeral service at Whitburn Parish Church at 10.30am, on Wednesday.