Clarets fan Debbie loses cancer battle nine months after death of her partner

A mum-of-one has died of cancer at the age of 51, less than a year after her partner.
Debbie Welch, who has died at the age of 51Debbie Welch, who has died at the age of 51
Debbie Welch, who has died at the age of 51

Debbie Welch discovered the cancer she had beat seven years ago, secondary melanoma, had returned in August last year.

The devastating news was given to Debbie just four months after Ken McIlvennie, her partner of 11 years, collapsed and died in May

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The couple were in the process of converting their dream home in Fence when the tragedy happened.

Debbie was treated at the Royal Preston Hospital, where staff who cared for her the first time she battled her illness so bravely, remembered her.

Debbie’s mum, Ann, said: “The staff remembered her and were surprised to see her back there.”

Debbie was later treated at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and died in the Pendleside Hospice where her only daughter, Jasmine (20) kept a constant vigil. Staff even allowed Debbie’s treasured Shih Tzu, Freddie, into the hospice to see her.

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To thank the hospice, Jasmine has set up a justgiving page for people to make donations.

Jasmine said: “The staff were wonderful, they looked after my mum and me too and it was lovely that they allowed Freddie in because my mum really wanted to see him.”

A former pupil of Rosehill Primary and Walshaw High schools in Burnley, Debbie worked at the Co-op Insurance.

She then spent several years working with her parents, Roland and Ann, and eventually became joint owner of their business, Burnley Tyre and Battery. They sold the firm 15 years ago.

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Debbie then worked with Ken at his business, Xavier Engineering, based in Padiham.

A lifelong Clarets fan, Debbie was a season ticket holder at Turf Moor, a passion she inherited from her dad as he used to take her to see matches as a child.

A keen horse rider when she was younger, Debbie won a series of rosettes and prizes. She loved interior design and going on cruises with her family.

Ann said: “Debbie was a beautiful girl and she always looked so much younger than her age.

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“But she was a strong person also and very independent. She loved looking at properties and she had found her dream home."

Debbie’s funeral will be held on Monday at Burnley Crematorium at 2-20pm.

Donations are being received for Pendleside Hospice c/o Alderson and Horan Funeral Services, Rossendale Road, Burnley or go to