Family's tribute to brave Linda

By David GreenTHE parents of a woman who was born with a rare heart condition have paid tribute to their daughter following her sudden death.Linda Clarke, 35, underwent a major operation only eight days after she was born and her parents were warned her life could be short.

By David Green

THE parents of a woman who was born with a rare heart condition have paid tribute to their daughter following her sudden death.

Linda Clarke, 35, underwent a major operation only eight days after she was born and her parents were warned her life could be short.

Despite two further serious operations before she reached her teens, Linda went on to lead a full and happy life with her parents, Monica and Peter.

“She was a wonderful, delightful girl to know. She adored people and everyone loved her,” said Mrs Clarke.

Linda, from Stradbroke, near Eye, died on Boxing Day morning after contracting a virus and then pneumonia.

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Mr and Mrs Clarke praised the medical care and support their daughter received throughout her life, especially from Dr Christopher Nourse, former consultant paediatrician at Ipswich Hospital, and her GP, Dr Brian Goodge, and other doctors at the practice.

The couple also thanked the family friends who always included Linda in their social invitations and helped in all kinds of ways.

Linda was born at Ipswich Hospital, where her rare heart condition was quickly diagnosed and she was taken to Brompton Hospital in London, where she underwent a major operation.

“They thought they had lost her at one stage, but she came back to life,” said Mrs Clarke.

A further operation on Linda's heart followed at the age of four and a dysfunctional kidney was removed at the age of 12, but she was able to lead a fairly normal life, despite a disability affecting the right side of her body.

She became a pupil at Stradbroke Primary School and went on to become a student at the local high school.

After leaving school, Linda helped with her parents' business, Monica's Catering, in providing food and drink to weddings, parties and other functions throughout East Anglia.

“She enjoyed coming around with us and people got to know her. She also loved her clothes, her music and the car we bought and had adapted for her use,” said Mrs Clarke.

“She sailed through her life without ever grumbling or complaining and we never heard a cross word from her in all her life.”

Because of the excellent care their daughter had received, Mr and Mrs Clarke held an annual charity dance which has raised more than £11,000 over the years.

The money was donated first to Brompton Hospital and then to Ipswich Hospital, where there is now a Linda Clarke Room in the children's wing.

Linda was Mr and Mrs Clarke's only child and although the couple were devastated by her death, they intend to go on working at their catering business “as she would have wanted us to”.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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