Defibrillator charity to be set up in memory of Frettenham mum

The family of an inspirational mum-of-two who has died following a battle against a decade of heart problems hope to set up a charity in her memory to help save lives.

Janyne Durrant-Pratt, pictured, from School Road, Frettenham, died at Papworth Hospital on August 18 – just a day before her 41st birthday.

She had been a passionate supporter of a campaign to have more defibrillators in public places after Frettenham Primary School teacher David Board used one to save her life in November 2010, when she had a cardiac arrest – and now her family hope to set up a charity in her name to continue her work.

Today, her husband, Martin, described his wife as 'the strongest person he will ever know' and the 'perfect mother' to their daughters, Sophie and Lucie.

He said: 'It gives us something to aim for. We are going to register a charity if we can, and raise funds for more defibrillators in public places. We will have a plaque put next to each one so that when they save a life people will know it is because of Janyne.'


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He said they had always known how precious their time was after Mrs Durrant-Pratt had two heart attacks in 2002 while pregnant with their second daughter Lucie, and was diagnosed with left ventricular failure - a condition that meant her heart was not pumping effectively on the left side.

'When Janyne first had heart failure we were told the likely outcome, we knew, and so we squeezed in that 10 years every drop of fun that we could,' he said.

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'We could never get round those words - heart failure - but we were strong and Janyne did everything she wanted to do. We cherished the moment, we did everything - some people do not get that chance.'

He said despite her ill health, Mrs Durrant-Pratt always wanted to support everyone else.

She was a very popular member of the local community and known as 'Nene' by local schoolchildren, and after her life was saved in November 2010 the whole school community packed into Frettenham's St Swithin's Church for a special service of thanks.

Mr Durrant-Pratt said his wife even taught him how to carry on looking after their two daughters after she had gone, and as she grew weaker she remained determined not to miss out on her family's special occasions - one of the last things she was able to do was watch Lucie in her school sports day.

'Janyne was the most selfless, courageous person that I will ever know in my life. I do not think I will ever hear of anyone who is as courageous as she was,' Mr Durrant-Pratt, 42, said.

'She wanted to be the perfect mother and wife and she did that and exceeded that despite everything.

'There are no words that are worthy of Janyne. I can think of the biggest words I know in my vocabulary and in dictionaries but there is not a word that I can think of as good enough or worthy enough to describe what a wonderful woman she was.'

Ten-year-old Lucie said her mum 'meant everything' to her.

'She was just the most amazing person in the whole wide world,' she said.

Her older sister Sophie, 15, added: 'Mum was really understanding. She was very caring and very kind. She was completely selfless.'

Mrs Durrant-Pratt's mum and dad Diane and Anthony Durrant said: 'She was an absolutely wonderful girl.

'We were so proud of her. You could not have wished for a better daughter, mother, wife, sister.

'Everybody just loved her, and she would want everyone to carry on and be happy in their lives.'

Her sister Elise Woodgate also paid tribute: 'I used to call her 'my super brave sister' and she was the best sister you could imagine.'

Mrs Woodgate's daughters Poppy and Daisy-Bo described their aunt as 'so brave and strong' and 'a beautiful star.'

Barbara Pegge, Mrs Durrant-Pratt's close friend, said: 'We have been extremely close friends since we were 13-years-old. Janyne was completely inspirational in how she faced her challenges.

'She was a true friend in every sense of the word and always saw the good in everybody. She had so many friends.'

Before she died, Mrs Durrant-Pratt's family had planned a party for her birthday on August 19, and they decided to go ahead with celebrating her birthday and let a balloon off into the sky in tribute to her.

They hope the new charity will be a longer-lasting tribute by carrying on the work she had already started in making more defibrillators available in public places to help those in need during the vital minutes before emergency services arrive.

Along with headteacher Judith Elliott-Hunter, Mrs Durrant-Pratt helped to raise funds for new defibrillators for Frettenham Primary School and its partner school Hainford Primary, and these are now available for anyone in the area to use in a medical emergency. Broadland High School, where Sophie is a pupil, has now also installed a defibrillator.

• Mrs Durrant-Pratt's funeral will take place at St Swithins Church, Frettenham, on Thursday at midday.

Anybody wanting to make a donation in Mrs Durrant-Pratt's memory can send a cheque - made payable to Gordon Barber Donation Account (for Janyne's charity, Defibrillators for Schools) - to Gordon Barber Funeral Home, 317 Aylsham Road, Norwich, NR3 2AB.

• Would you like to pay tribute to somebody? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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