Padiham mum-of-three dies aged 40

Catherine Howard
Catherine Howard

A Padiham mum-of-three whose son was known as a “miracle baby” after surviving meningitis more than 20 years ago has died suddenly at home.

Animal lover and charity worker Catherine Howard (40) was in the news in January 1996 as eldest son, then aged two, was given just hours to live but survived the killer disease.

Catherine held charity nights to raise money for the Meningitis Trust and Burnley Hospital, where her son was treated before he moved to St James’s Hospital, Leeds.

Catherine died suddenly at her home in Rishton, where she had lived for three years, but she was brought up in Padiham, in Green Lane and Burns Street. She went to Padiham Green Primary School, had a short spell at Gawthorpe before moving to Habergham High School.

The grandma-of-two had just completed an NVQ Level 3 in drugs and alcohol misuse at Accrington and Rossendale College as she wanted to become a counsellor.

“Catherine was bubbly and lively and liked karaoke,” said her mum Janet Whitaker. “She also loved all animals and fostered cats. She was a mature student and was on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a counsellor. She had a lot of friends and we are all in shock.”

Catherine is survived by her mum, three children, brother Paul and grandchildren.