THE family and friends of a social worker from Henley who died suddenly paid tribute at her funeral.
Hundreds of people attended the service at St Mary’s Church for Claire Peacock, 37, who died in hospital on March 5 after collapsing in a shopping centre car park in Aylesbury.
It is thought the mother-of-two died from bleeding on the brain — she had suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2006 and needed annual check-ups.
The service was conducted by the Rev Canon Martyn Griffiths and began with a piano version of James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful.
After the welcome and opening prayer, the mourners sang All Things Bright And Beautiful.
Ms Peacock’s children, Freya, 17, and 14-year-old Finlay, who lived with her in Grange Road, read personal tributes.
Freya, who attends The Henley College, said: “My mum wasn’t just my mum, she was one of my best friends. Spending time with her was so much fun.
“The most valuable lesson I learnt from her was ‘live each day like it’s the last’.”
Finlay, a pupil at Gillotts School in Henley, added: “She gave me the best years of my life.”
Ms Peacock’s sister Sophie, 40, from Harpenden, said: “Claire was so proud of Freya and Finlay. She often talked about how well they were doing at school.
“They are fantastic children and they are a credit to her. We will continue to be in their lives and make sure they are still able to pursue their dreams as Claire would have wanted.”
Ms Peacock’s brother Stephen, 33, from London, said she would treat him as if she were his mother and say how much she adored him when she met his friends.
The congregation sang Lord Of The Dance and then Ms Peacock’s aunt and godmother Kirstin Grepne gave a reading of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 — The Coming of the Lord.
There were personal reflections from friends Julie Calcutt and Marcus Richardson and Ms Peacock’s partner Gary Boys. Mrs Calcutt, of Priest Hill, Caversham, said: “My absolute favourite quality was her hilarious, self- deprecating humour.”
Mr Richardson said: “I was so happy to be part of Claire’s life and feel blessed that I saw her life go from being a loving daughter and devoted sister to being a wonderful mother to Freya and Finlay.”
Mr Boys, of Station Road, Henley, thanked the mourners, who had travelled from all over the UK and as far as China. The pair met at the Row Barge pub in Henley three years ago.
“We were one and just totally got each other,” said Mr Boys. “The weekend before her passing we had a great time in Madrid. We laughed all weekend. We had six hours stuck in Madrid Airport and the time just flew by.” He said Ms Peacock was a “proud Henley girl” who loved going to Henley Festival and had been planning to see Rebecca Ferguson perform this year.
Mr Boys said: “Claire did try to prepare us for this day — that was Claire, no surprise. But to stand up and tell you I’m not gutted and hurting from the pit of my stomach I would be lying to you. Claire, you showed me how to be a parent and to cherish every second we had with our children. You reminded me of the importance of living for today but, most important for me, you showed me how to love again. Your legacy will live on and I give the final word to your Grandpa, who said you were quite simply ‘perfection’.”
The service ended with a blessing followed by a piano version of Flashdance... What A Feeling by Irene Cara. It was followed by a private cremation. The wake was held at the Angel on the Bridge in Thames Side.
Ms Peacock was born in Henley and lived with her parents in Milton Close before the family moved to Northend when she was three.She was educated at Turville School, Frieth School, Gillotts School and The Henley College.
Ms Peacock had worked for Buckinghamshire County Council for 10 years after training to be a social worker at Manchester University.Before that, she owned the Blue Moose bar in Duke Street, which is now Café le Raj, with her mother Karin and ex-husband Ollie Tubb.
* Mr Boys said later the family wanted to thank everyone for their kind donations to support the children. The children and family members will be raising money for aneurysm research and Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where Ms Peacock died, throughout the year.