“She was very loving and caring” Tributes to inspirational Gresham’s School student Freya, from Feltwell
07:21 14 January 2014
An inspirational young woman who fought off cancer twice in two years and started a trust to help other young people live with the disease has died, aged 22.
In the final year of her life, Freya Barlow, from Feltwell, climbed Ben Nevis, ran a 10km race and worked to raise more than £10,000 to help people suffering with cancer.
She died on December 4 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital at around 9.30am, having been diagnosed with cancer in her spine and brain in November. She was first diagnosed with leukaemia in January 2012, beating it twice.
Born in Macclesfield, Miss Barlow was raised in Norfolk, going to Sacred Heart School in Swaffham, Beeston Hall School in West Runton and Gresham’s School in Holt.
A straight-A student, she chose to study medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, with ambitions to become a doctor.
Her father, Mark Barlow, described her as “perfect”.
“She was very loving and caring and had lots of friends all over. Wherever she went she made friends, and she kept them,” he said.
“I can safely say she would have definitely made it as a doctor because she was such a dedicated and motivated person.”
Jackie Hall, Miss Barlow’s mother, said her daughter had shown more concern with her family and friends than herself in her final weeks.
“She was so selfless, even down to planning her own funeral. I think the fact that she was a medical student meant that she understood better than us what was going to happen.
“She made sure in her last months that she kept living her life and the only thing about the illness that she hated was that it stopped her doing things,” she said.
Aside from her extensive charity work at home, Miss Barlow had also been to Ghana twice to help victims of Aids.
Her mother said that she had ambitions to join the army as a field doctor.
Regarded as extremely academic by teachers, she was also a talented sportswoman, representing Norfolk in hockey while at school and later becoming a keen runner.
A Catholic, she stayed at the Sacred Heart School in the last days of her life, where she passed on plans for her funeral to staff.
Sister Francis, the school’s headteacher, described her as a motivated and driven person.
“She was intense but in a very lovely way and always kind-hearted. She was always thinking of everyone else and was worried about what would happen to other people when she died,” she said.
A popular face on her university course, her friends described her as being sociable and “full of life”.
That popularity was shown following her diagnosis in November, when friends organised the Freya Ball in just 48 hours, with 300 people attending.
A group of friends then raised more than £3,000 with a sky-dive on November 23.
Rebekah Wilson and Lucy Tomlinson met Miss Barlow at university.
Miss Wilson said: “She was such a strong and optimistic person and if she decided on doing something, she would do it.
“She was multi-talented too, but never told people about it. It was only when we met her parents that we heard about all these talents she had.
The funeral will be held at Ely Cathedral on January 23. Miss Barlow requested that any donations should be made to the Anthony Nolan Trust, via Southgate of Newmarket, who can be contacted by writing to Southgate, 25 Duchess Drive, Newmarket, CB8 8AG or by calling 01638 563204.