Burnley nurse loses cancer battle

Valerie Lees
Valerie Lees

A brave woman who fought a long battle against cancer has been described as an inspiration by friends, family and doctors.

Valerie Lees, who worked as a nurse for more than 40 years, died aged 63 in Pendleside Hospice after battling cancer of the oesophagus since 2009.

Niece Valerie Lynch paid tribute to her “glamorous and proud” aunt who was well-known in the Burnley area.

She said: “My auntie fought this cruel condition so bravely and with great dignity.

“For the last year she was unable to eat or drink properly and had to be fed through a tube. This would become blocked quite easily and she had to travel to Preston Hospital nearly every day. The medical staff described her as inspirational.

“My auntie refused to let the condition get the better of her. She was very proud of her appearance and was wearing full make-up right to the end. Someone described her as a real glamour puss.”

Valerie, from Rosegrove, decided to pursue a nursing career following the death of her six-year-old niece from spina bifida.

She started work at Burnley General Hospital before becoming a district nurse. She was also secretary of the Burnley Twinning Association.

Mrs Lynch added: “In her younger years my auntie loved to go out dancing in clubs such as the Cat’s Whiskers and Panama’s and enjoyed musicals.

“Throughout her illness she maintained that fun and humour were important. She will be so very sadly missed by the many people who knew and loved her.”

Her best friend, Mrs Pam Ashworth, said: “Val made friends of all ages who still remember her love of life. She touched many people even to just recently helping others with the same problems as she had.”

Her funeral will be held at 1-30pm on Monday at Colne Spiritualist Church.