THE affection and respect shown to former model and senior local councillor Karen Maryon was evident when hundreds of people attended her funeral.
Karen, pictured, from Winnothdale, near Tean, passed away on Sunday September 15.
The 58-year-old, who was a district councillor for Cheadle South East ward and chairman of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council from 2007-08, had been suffering from the rare disease of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).
Family, friends and councillors joined together at Carmountside Crematorium for the service and committal on Monday, conducted by Reverend John Palmer.
A tribute, written by Karen’s husband Mike, himself a previous county councillor and cabinet member, was read by a family friend.
It said: “Karen had the misfortune to be blighted by a brain condition that led to her early death.
“In her short life before FTD, she crammed in and enjoyed a lot of living that was hallmarked by an exultation of spirit and a cheerful enjoyment of life that came naturally to her. To put it simply she loved life, she was a character full of energy and zeal.
“This was not a selfish trait but one that also encompassed a deep care for people, especially children of who she was inordinately fond.
“Even in the darkest days of her illness the sight of a baby or young person would still be the trigger to make her eyes light up.
“And even when her illness took a grip of her and affected her abilities she still tried to raise money for the local hospice and the air ambulance, as well planning to take people less fortunate than herself on trips to Alton Towers.
"Before I met her, Karen dallied with the glamour world and was a Page 3 model, but this was in the seventies when both parts of the bikini were ‘de rigueur’! “The Sun paid tribute to their former ‘Model of the Year’ but on page 29; knowing Karen she would have been riled at being bumped off page 3.
“Karen believed in giving back to society and this was reflected in her very long career in nursing and midwifery, and finally with the hospice world.
“That trait was also the trigger for her political aspirations, where helping the community was the driver for her involvement. I know she derived an immense amount of pleasure helping others to resolve their problems over the years.
“Karen would become passionate about an issue to the extent where I have seen grown men tremble. A fond memory for me is of the time when the Chief Constable of Staffordshire had been berated by Karen after a local police exercise with firearms frightened some of the older residents.
“The next time I saw the Chief Constable his first question was, with his eyes darting nervously around the room, ‘Is your wife with you tonight?’ He visibly relaxed on learning I was alone.
“Today marks the end of a five year journey, part of which was at home with me and the last two years in a specialist care home.
“I know in actuality I lost Karen many years ago, but even in diminished circumstances she was still a joy to be with.
“Equally, I am grateful for the support and care Karen received from her care home staff at Mayfield, truly above and beyond.
“Thank you all; I shall always be grateful for this genuine human kindness.
“Karen, you will always be with me with your radiant smile – sometimes cheeky but always irrepressible."
Karen’s son, Daniel, also gave a tribute in remembrance of his mother.
He said “Mum was a determined lady and ambitious.
“I would not be the person I am today without my mum.
“She was also a brilliant negotiator and never afraid to take a risk.
“She has been taken far to young. She has not be given more time to spend with her grandson.