'Dancing and partying to the end': Tributes to Hedon mum Kerry Key after tragic death
TRIBUTES have been paid to a dedicated mother who put others before herself, despite her battle with cancer.
Kerry Key bravely fought breast cancer for seven years but died at her home last Wednesday with her family around her, aged just 36.
• GALLERY: Kerry Key
She was the mother of Lewis 13, who has severe learning disabilities, and Georgia, eight.
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Despite gruelling treatment, Kerry, of Hedon, found time to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
Her mum, Carol Beauchamp, praised her daughter's bravery.
"Kerry was a spirited person and such an individual," she said.
"She was a real inspiration to so many people, which shows in all the cards we've received.
"Kerry touched the lives of so many people and even inspired those who didn't know her.
"She was so caring and always thought about others first.
"Even right at the end she said she could see the hurt on our faces but couldn't make it better for us.
"We were all very close and her family meant everything to her."
In November, Kerry received the devastating news the cancer had spread to her liver.
In January, she was told she had just a month to live. She died less than two weeks later.
Mrs Beauchamp, of Preston, near Hedon, said: "Kerry fought with everything she had for her kids. They were the world to her.
"Lewis seems to have accepted it and I think the spirit of Kerry is with him.
"Georgia has been very brave but she is suffering a bit now.
"Lewis was born prematurely and was left brain-damaged.
"He shouldn't be able to walk or talk by now but, through Kerry's early intervention, he managed to get physio and he lives a pretty full life."
Despite the cancer, Kerry was determined to live life to the full.
Mrs Beauchamp said: "Kerry reacted with shock when she first heard about the cancer, but she quickly began to fight it.
"She never complained and she joked about everything.
"She had enough knowledge to know that when the cancer spread to her liver, she was facing an uphill battle.
"Up until the end she was up for dancing and partying.
"She was the life and soul at work, too, and everyone at Castle Hill Hospital loved her."
Kerry did everything she could to tackle the disease, having a mastectomy, surgery to remove her ovaries and pioneering lipomodelling treatment.
Mrs Beauchamp said: "She suffered during her illness and went through some horrific procedures but she would try anything.
"She went through a lot and it was very tough for her. But she kept us all laughing to the end."
While Kerry was determined to raise money for cancer charities, she also wanted to raise awareness.
Mrs Beauchamp said: "Kerry spoke to the WI about breast cancer and also campaigned for more choices of mastectomy bras at stores such as Boots.
"She also campaigned for more facilities for children with severe disabilities, which was a problem Lewis faced."
Kerry was brought up in Preston before marrying Martin Skibowski, with whom she had her two children.
He was in the Army, so they moved to York, then Catterick and then to Leconfield.
The couple split up and Kerry married her childhood sweetheart Tony Key, with whom she lived in Hedon.
She has worked with the mentally ill and the elderly. Latterly, she was a clinical imaging assistant at the x-ray department at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham.
Shortly after finding out the cancer spread, she achieved an ambition to meet pop star Peter Andre in Scarborough. He even sang the song Imagine to her.
Kerry undertook much of her fundraising with cousin Laura Davies.
Miss Davies, 26, said: "Kerry was so brave and encouraging.
"She was so bubbly and she will never be forgotten. She has been such a big part of our family."
Kerry's funeral will take place at All Saints Church in Preston on Monday, followed by a burial at Preston Cemetery.
Mrs Beauchamp said: "There will be a lot of people attending her funeral. The church hall holds 200 but there could be a lot more.
"She discussed the funeral arrangements before she died.
"There will be a horse and carriage but she doesn't want anyone dressing up. People are being asked to wear pink."