THE heartbroken mother of the late Debbie Crawford, who passed away following a short battle with cancer, says she’ll miss seeing her “kind and caring” daughter every day.

“I will miss the door opening, [with her saying] 'Mum, it's me', and she'd be coming in and she'd have made you a [floral] arrangement or bought you flowers,” said Jean Vaughan, speaking fondly of her beloved daughter, Debbie.

“We'd sit down and have a natter, I'd go over to her house and it would've been the same [with her coming over to me]. Just every day, she was a part of my life."

Debbie, 51, late of Boyhill Park, Maguiresbridge, passed away peacefully on May 25 at Altnagelvin Hospital, less than two months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Describing Debbie as kind, caring and "full of fun", Jean said: "She was a great daughter, I couldn't have asked for a better one. She never caused me a sleepless night from the day she was born.

"She was always helping other people – she just had a heart of gold," she added.

A loving wife to her husband, Austin, and a wonderful mother to her two children, Elle and Jessica, Debbie was known for being very caring.

Giving an example of Debbie's caring nature, Jean said: "She found kittens in a box on the side of the road one night, and brought them home and got homes for them, keeping one of them.

"She'd have taken in every stray and waif and looked after it. It was the same with her children's friends; they were all like adopted children to her, and the more, the merrier."

Of these 'adopted children', Catherine Scallon was very special to Debbie, explained Jean.

Talking about her daughter's working life, Jean noted that she started working in The Vintage when she was still at school, and later went on to work in the Ardhowen Theatre as a cook.

"She was there for almost 30 years," said Jean, noting how she loved working there.

"She worked for Marty and Maria Quinn – they were absolutely brilliant employers. They were friends and family, rather than employers," she added.

Over the years, Debbie developed a creative flair and enjoyed decoupage, flower arranging and making wreaths.

"She really loved that," said Jean, explaining that it started off as a hobby for Debbie, but it spiralled into something more: "I have stuff that she did for me, half the country has."

Debbie had a strong Christian faith and was a member of Maguiresbridge Parish Church, where she was involved in the Mother Union up until a few years ago.

"Every second [with Debbie] was a fond memory to me. Every second of her life," said Jean, noting how she and her daughter had a very close relationship.

Debbie was diagnosed with Stage Four cancer in March. Jean said: "She complained about being tired but she never sat down. I was saying to her, 'make an appointment, there's something behind that tiredness'.

"She finally gave in and went. As soon as Dr. McConville examined her, it was 10cm of a [cancerous] growth [that was discovered]. She was actually at Stage Four when it was discovered," said Jean.

"Dr. McConville and Dr. Mallon, I could not praise them highly enough. Dr. Mallon was a gentleman, and has always been her doctor.

"He was so kind, and he got the wheels in motion, and he had her with the team in Derry within days, really.

"She went down for the consultation and they told her without treatment that she had six months, with treatment, it could be two and a half years."

Unfortunately, although Debbie was originally diagnosed with cancer of the rectum, it had spread to her liver, and became very aggressive.

"We went down [to the Altnagelvin Hospital] two weeks before she died, and we were with her every day.

"She had a very peaceful death; just a wee sigh and then she went," said her heartbroken mother.

Debbie's funeral was arranged by Marcus Madill, Funeral Director, Enniskillen and took place on Friday, May 28 at Aghavea Parish Church, followed by a private family interment. The funeral service was carried out by Reverend Johnny McLoughlin.

"[I want to say] a special thank you to Rev. Johnny McLoughlin, of Aghavea Parish Church, who took on the arrangements at short notice, and he conducted a beautiful service.

"He was also very kind and thoughtful to the family," said Jean.

She and the rest of Debbie's family were also very grateful to everyone who stood out to pay their respects on the day of the funeral.

"It was unbelievable, the crowds that turned out. Even her neighbours got to carry her coffin down Boyhill Park where she lived. It all went off so well," she said, adding that it was "just so nice to see how many people loved her".

A very dear daughter of Jean Vaughan, a much-loved wife of Austin, a very special mother of Elle and Jessica, a life-long family friend of Noel Anthony, a dear sister of Michael, a caring godmother to Ben Brown, and a loving niece to her auntie Yvonne and family, auntie Gertie and family, and her uncle Edwin and family, Debbie is very sadly missed by all of the family circle.