The niece of mother-of-three Nichola-Jayne Manning, who died in a car crash just eleven weeks after giving birth to her youngest child, says her auntie had ‘always been her role model’.
Nichola, 43, of Vinery Road, Bury St Edmunds, who was known as Nikki, died on Wednesday, April 27 following a collision between the black Jaguar X Type she was a passenger in and a black Ford Transit van on the A142 Ely Road near Sutton.
Her partner Chey Drewett, who was driving the Jaguar, was seriously injured in the crash but is now in a stable condition in hospital.
Their newborn baby boy Phoenix was taken to hospital as a precaution but was uninjured.
Tributes have flooded in following the tragedy.
Her niece, Zoe Nunn, 23, from Bury said her auntie always brightened up the room when she walked in.
“She was such a positive person,” she said.
“She made a massive difference to all her nieces and nephews. She has always been my role model.
“Nikki was such a positive person, she was bubbly and brightened up the room.
“She was such an amazing auntie and she is going to be missed massively by so many people.”
Nikki’s cousin Bex Seeley, from Bardwell, said she was privileged to have known her.
“She was one of this world’s beautiful people,” she said. “She had a huge zest for life.
“We were really privileged to have spent time with her.
“Even if she wasn’t having a good day she would make sure you did.
“She was outrageous at times, she was really funny - the life and soul.
“We used to have huge laughs together.”
Nikki, who is survived by son Lazryc, 22, daughter Jezmia, 17, and baby Phoenix, spent most of her life working to improve the lives of vulnerable children.
She worked at the Priory School in Bury and Stowmarket Middle and Chilton Community Primary School in Stowmarket and was one of the founders of the Stowmarket Saturday Club, an activity group for children on the autistic spectrum.
Chairman of the club Steve Crooks, said: “The number of children Nikki would have helped runs into the hundreds as its not only the children but the club allows the parents and families some respite too.
“The idea of the club is to help kids with their social skills and help them access activities they ordinarily wouldn’t be able to because they struggle with mainstream activities.
“Nikki came on board to set the club up.
“This was 12 years ago, people understand autism much better now and are a lot more aware of it.
“They were starting out without a blueprint with how the club would be run.
“The Saturday Club allowed the children to be autistic, it was an environment where the children were allowed to be themselves.
“Nikki was very positive - she was always smiling.”
Nikki’s sister-in-law Kayleigh Green, from Ingham, said: “She was just such a beautiful person and brought so much happiness to people’s lives.
“Every time you would leave she would hug you like it was the last time she would see you.
“Even if you were a stranger she would talk to you and it was if you had known her for years.
“She was so modest, she didn’t realise how special she was. It is such a sad loss.”
A Gofundme page set up to help the family has already raised more than £4,600.
To donate, please visit www.gofundme.com/2xbm3gnx