Tributes have been paid to a bright and bubbly woman who was well-known and well-loved in Wellingborough.
Denise Barnett was just 58 when she died suddenly on March 24.
But the woman who dedicated her life to others won’t be forgotten by the many groups, churches and sports clubs she was involved with.
Denise was born in Wellingborough in June 1959, and attended Croyland Infant and Junior Schools and John Lea Secondary School.
She joined the local judo club when she was 12 with older brother and sister Gordon and Deirdre.
On leaving school, she went to work as a machine operator at Harper and Tunstall on the Denington estate and was due to start work at Hinwick Hall working with disabled children when her life changed completely one night in December 1979.
The judo club had broken up early for Christmas amd when she was yards from home, a car pulled out of a junction and hit her, knocking her off her moped.
Her leg was completely shattered.
But after several weeks in hospital in Northampton, she was transferred to Stoke Mandeville where surgeon Bruce Bailey offered her the chance of having the leg rebuilt using one of her ribs, back muscle and veins.
She spent months in hospital and underwent more than 25 operations.
In 1982, Denise had a son named Bruce after the surgeon who saved her leg from amputation.
As she was unable to continue in the sport she loved, Denise took up coaching and turned her hand to crafts, often making items to raise funds at one of her many groups.
Her love of sport saw her introduced to table tennis, and a sports club for the disabled where she took up archery, discus, shot put and more, competing for her country in both Germany and Ireland for disabled table tennis.
But she wasn’t content with just playing sport as she went on to teach others, sharing her skills with children and especially those with disabilities.
In the early 90s, Denise returned to church and became a member of St Mark’s in Wellingborough.
She helped run groups and social events there before moving to St Andrew’s several years ago.
During this time, Denise held positions on various committees and worked tirelessly for the Royal British Legion.
And in 2010, together with her niece Lisa Teeley, had her head shaved in the Swansgate Centre for the Poppy Appeal charity she supported.
A highlight in her life and recognition for all that she did was being asked to carry the Paralympic torch on a relay section in Barnet in 2012 and also being nominated for a Pride in Northamptonshire award.
The ‘nanna’ of three was also a great friend to many and would transport people to church, hospital appointments and shopping as well as recently starting a pastoral course at St Andrew’s.
Denise’s funeral will be held at 11.45am on Friday, April 13, at St Andrew’s Church followed by committal at Wellingborough Crematorium for family and close friends only.
It is family flowers only but donations can be made c/o Bruce Carter in Wellingborough to be split between Denise’s many groups.