A ‘fantastic’ mother-of-two and well-known Bury St Edmunds landlady has died.
Joanna Bird lost her short five-month battle with cancer in the early hours of this morning, passing away in the care of St Nicholas Hospice.
The 36-year-old, who worked as a hairdresser in Bury after leaving school and as a taxi driver in the town for about 10 years, was best known for the two years she spent behind the bar of the St Edmund’s Tavern, the renamed Rising Sun in Risbygate Street.
‘Jo’ was the pub’s last licensee before it closed its doors on New Year’s Eve in 2013, and had helped run family businesses at Club Brazilia, Vision Nightclub and Lucky Break for many years.
Daniel, Jo’s brother, described her as a ‘down-to-earth, caring, no nonsense person’ who had never given up.
He said she had been the ‘backbone’ of his businesses and that he had enjoyed working closely with her over the years.
Jo’s mum, Dede, said: “We’re devastated, it’s just all happened so fast. The last five months have been absolute hell. I moved in with Jo to help care for her and her children and it’s been soul-destroying to see what this illness has done to my daughter.”
She described Jo as ‘straight-talking, bubbly and with a great sense of humour’.
She added: “Jo was so brave throughout, not just coping with the physical side of things but in facing up to the physiological side of having a terminal illness at such a young age.
“She was a fantastic mother. Her boys are an absolute credit to her, they’re being so brave - I can see a lot of their mum in them.”
Jo leaves behind a large family, including her father Nigel ‘Noddy’, sisters Mel and Clare, husband Kevin and two sons, Daniel, 15, and Aiden, 11.
Her funeral will take place at West Suffolk Crematorium, Risby, at 10.30am next Friday (August 21).
Family flowers only but donations to St Nicholas Hospice Care c/o L Fulcher Funeral Directors, 80 Whiting Street, Bury, IP33 1NX.