Daughter's social media post months before her tragic death was spur for Burnley mum to finish writing her life story

A social media post made by her daughter, just six months before her tragic and untimely death at the age of 20, was the push a Burnley mum needed to finish a book she began writing five years ago.

Karen Carter began to write her life story in 2015 but it had been put on the back burner for some time.

And after the death of her daughter Molly in September, 2017, Karen struggled to find motivation to do anything at all as she coped with her overwhelming loss.

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But it was seeing the Instagram post Molly made in March, 2017, praising her mum for starting the book and expressing the hope that it gets published, Karen knew in her heart she had to finish what she started.

Karen Carter, who has published her autobiography, with her daughter Molly who died in 2017 aged 20.

Enlisting the help of Joyce Graham, who is a fellow member of the Burnley and District Writers Group, the duo worked on finishing the book. Joyce used her editing skills and also typed up the chapters which Karen had written out in long hand.

Karen said: "I couldn't have done this without Joyce, she must have the patience of a saint because she really pushed me to get on with it.

"She deserves so much credit for sticking with me through this, it hasn't been an easy ride."

The life story of the mum of four includes details of her early life as a child from a loving home who became a bit of a rebel to an adult who faced many traumas including domestic abuse, mental health issues and the task of bringing up her children on her own.

Karen with Joyce Graham who helped her to complete the autobiography

And perhaps there was no tougher or more painful challenge than coping with the grief Karen experienced, and is still experiencing, when Molly died.

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In what Joyce has described as a 'no holds barred' book, Karen writes with searing honesty about the pain and grief of losing a child.

Molly was well known in Burnley to many people as from the age of 14 she had worked at Andrew's Butchers in Burnley Market Hall as a Saturday girl. A former pupil of Rosewood Primary School and Unity College, Burnley, Molly went on to study hairdressing at Nelson and Colne College. A commemorative bench was placed in the grounds of the college in honour of Molly.

Within 48 hours of going on Amazon Don't Lose Your Sparkle: The Karen Carter Story had 89 kindle downloads and has now sold just under 150 copies which includes a paperback version.

Karen with her daughter Molly
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And Karen has been swamped with messages of support, encouragement and thanks from family, friends and people from across the globe who can identify with her story.

She said: "The number of strangers who have got in touch with me to say my story resonsates with them has been incredible and I feel so glad that I did get the book finished and out there.

"Those messages have brought me a lot of comfort and if it means the book has helped someone to cope with what is happening in their life that is great.

"As I am in life I have been brutally honest in the book, everything in it is the truth.

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Karen Carter as a child before what she describes as her rebel years.

"People have told me that Molly would be proud of me and that means so much because it is thanks to her that the book was finally finished."