THE mother of ‘one of Kendal’s most courageous families’ has died aged 61 after a 28-year battle with multiple sclerosis.
Mourners paid tribute to popular mother-of-four Thérèse Garnett during her funeral at St George’s Roman Catholic Church.
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Mrs Garnett’s husband Will has spoken of her strong faith, saying: “The last seven years in particular have been pretty awful but throughout it all, she never complained.”
In 2001 Mr Garnett wrote a book – ‘What Colour’s Your Hoover’ – about how the Garnetts dealt with Thérèse's MS, retired teacher Will’s detached retina and youngest daughter Siobhan’s Prader-Willi syndrome.
The book was adapted into a stage play, which was performed at the Brewery in 2005.
The Gazette’s coverage of the play said: “Not only does it tell the story of the struggles and triumphs of one of Kendal’s most courageous families, but it also promises to be one of the best and most engaging productions staged by the Brewery Theatre Company.”
Mrs Garnett was born Thérèse Gibson in Belfast in 1952, the eldest of eight children. One of her cousins was Irish actor Ciaran Hinds.
She studied at Queens University before doing au pair work in Switzerland and student work in America.
She met Will Garnett in Edinburgh while they were both studying for a diploma in adult and community education, and the two were married in Belfast in 1978.
They emigrated briefly to Canada before living in Suffolk for two years and then settling in Kendal in 1982.
Possessing a beautiful soprano singing voice, she was a member of Kendal South Choir.
Mrs Garnett was diagnosed with MS in 1986 and, in 1995, was given an experimental treatment which Mr Garnett said ‘blew her body apart’.
“In 1995 she was given five years to live,” he said, “but being a very determined lady she took no notice of that and lived for another 19 years.”
For the last two years lived at Summerhill Nursing and Residential Home.
Mrs Garnett leaves children Catherine, Ciaran, Liam and Siobhan, and granddaughter Eva Rose.