Losing weight helps Richmond woman cope with death of her daughter

Anna Swabey with mum Linda and dad Keith.
Anna Swabey died last year from a brain tumour.

The mother of a young woman who tragically lost her life the day before she was due to get married has told how losing weight helped her cope with her daughter’s illness.

Linda Swabey’s daughter Anna died last year aged 25 from a brain tumour.

Anna passed away the day before she was due to get married to fiancee Andy Bell.

Company director Linda, 61, from Richmond, told how she took comfort in food after her daughter was diagnosed with cancer.

“I do comfort eat when there’s any trauma in my life,” Linda said.

“When Anna was diagnosed in January 2015 I really took it badly. I didn’t look after myself and took comfort in eating.

“Everything seemed to be spiralling around me and I needed something that I could be in control of.”

While looking for outfits for the wedding, Anna convinced her mum to make changes, and she joined a Slimming World group in Richmond.

“They were so supportive of me and it was great to be able to talk to other people away from home.”

Linda never got to attend her daughter’s wedding – but is determined to keep the weight off.

“I know Anna would have wanted me to carry on after she’d gone – I can hear her telling me to.

“I can’t imagine not going. Without Charis and the group I don’t think I would have carried on and got where I am today.

“They’ve been so supportive. There’s never any shaming or judgement when people walk through the door. We laugh so much.”

Linda Swabey won Richmond Slimming World’s Greatest Loser award.

Last week, Linda picked up Richmond Slimming World group’s Greatest Loser award.

Charis Blease, leader of the group, said Linda’s weight loss transformation had been incredible.

“Over five stone gone in just 36 weeks – she is an amazing part of our group and an inspiration to us all.”

Anna, from Newton Aycliffe, started fundraising for the Brain Tumour Research Campaign before her death, and her friends and family continued the work.

It was announced at Anna’s funeral that the fundraising total had passed £100,000 – despite Anna hoping initially to raise just £500.

The total currently stands at around £106,000.

Linda said her daughter was a very eloquent young lady and her story had touched many people.

After she was diagnosed, she started a blog about her treatment which is kept going by her sister Victoria.

“People have been incredibly generous. It’s such a worthy cause. We know Brain Tumour Research Campaign spends every penny they receive on research as all the admin is done by volunteers.

“We want to keep Anna’s memory alive – this is her legacy. It’s important for her sister Victoria and brother Matthew – they have lost their sister who they were supposed to grow old with.”

To read Anna’s Inside My Head blog click here.

To donate to the appeal for the Brain Tumour Research Campaign click here.