This is, undoubtedly, the hardest column I have ever had to write.
Back in 2007, when I was relatively new to writing for the Telegraph, I wrote about my dad who had died.
Six years on, and with great sadness, I am writing about my darling mum who has peacefully passed away.
The void she has left is indescribable but she has left a wonderful legacy by being the kind of person she was.
If you have ever taken part in our annual walks at Wicksteed Park, it was mum who was always proudly at the helm, ready with her huge pair of scissors to start the countdown, cut the ribbon and acknowledge thousands of happy smiling faces as they filed past her.
She only missed one and never, jokingly, forgave me.
Her favourite memory of each walk, even though she was blind, was in knowing why we were doing it, knowing the support that was being given and the fun that everyone was having.
A very special aspect of mum’s legacy was her wonderful smile.
She would say: “A smile costs nothing; no one likes a grumpy person.”
Mum had a smile for everyone and her positive outlook on life rubbed off on anyone she met.
In her last few years mum did not enjoy the best of health but she never grumbled, never asked for anything and was so, so polite; the words “thank you” featuring very highly in her vocabulary.
“Thank you” mum for being the best there is, for being my best friend; for bringing sunshine into the lives of so, so many people and for always being there for me and my family .
We love you lots. xxx
We say goodbye to mum at the Parish Church in Kettering at 3pm today, Tuesday, December 17, and would love to give her the happy send-off that she, herself, has given to so many.