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Last Updated: Friday, 14 September 2007, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Hundreds celebrate cancer heroine
by Samantha Porter
BBC News, Leeds

Crowds line the streets outside St Anne's Cathedral
Hundreds of people lined the streets outside St Anne's Cathedral
A crowd of mourners had started gathering in Leeds city centre hours before Jane Tomlinson's funeral began.

And by the time the car carrying her coffin arrived at St Anne's Cathedral hundreds of people were lining the streets to pay their respects.

Spontaneous applause greeted Mrs Tomlinson's friends and family as they arrived for the service.

Some mourners threw flowers into the road, while others broke down in tears as her coffin was carried inside.

A crowd of about 1,000 people then packed Leeds' Millennium Square to watch the funeral mass, which was shown live on a big screen.

Mrs Tomlinson died, aged 43, in St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds on 3 September after a seven-year battle with cancer.

Susan Moore (left) and Anne Cowan
To do what she did when she was so ill must have taken a lot of will power and determination
Anne Cowan

Many well-wishers told the BBC they had wanted to pay their respects to an "amazing" woman who had touched all of their hearts.

One man compared her to Princess Diana, because of her amazing services to charity, while others were simply too upset to speak.

Beryl Leathes, 57, an occupational health nurse, travelled from her home in North Yorkshire to join the mourners.

Outside the cathedral she said: "I think the whole city should be here, because she was such an outstanding person.

"The trip across America that she did was totally amazing."

A crowd watches the funeral on a big screen in Millennium Square
The funeral was watched by about 1,000 people in Millennium Square

Petar Trivunovic, a sports lecturer at the city's Park Lane College, said: "If ever there were angels walking the earth she was an angel.

"She actually did things instead of talking about them.

"When you see the list of everything she's achieved three quarters of the country couldn't do them, but she did them even when she was seriously ill."

Among those who gathered to pay their respects at Millennium Square were Anne Cowan, retired, from Leeds, with her daughter Susan Moore, a housewife.

Mrs Cowan said: "I think Jane deserves to have a crowd here. We think she has been so absolutely brilliant.

"To do what she did when she was so ill must have taken a lot of will power and determination."

'Fight her corner'

Jill Hope, also retired, from Leeds, said: "I think Jane was a very brave young woman.

"She did not want to go down without fighting her corner. I admired her strength.

"She is typical of Leeds people and represents all of us."

And Laura Sharp, 19, who was on her lunch break from Leeds Art College, said: "I just wanted to come down and pay my respects. Not many people can say they have achieved the things she did.

"She was amazing."


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