A ‘BEAUTIFUL, kind and caring’ woman who devoted her life to others has died at the age of 42 after contracting coronavirus.

Donna Coleman, who was a tutor and programme leader at Burnley College, was diagnosed with Covid-19 just before Christmas.

The much-loved sister, daughter and friend appeared to be recovering from the virus before she took a bad turn and was rushed into Royal Blackburn Hospital. 

After a short stay on the ward, Donna passed away on January 6.

Now hundreds of people have paid tribute to the woman with the ‘biggest heart’ who would have done ‘anything for anyone’ and over £8,000 has been raised in her memory.

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Leading the tributes, Vicki Coleman said her sister was an inspiration to her and the hundreds who had turned to her for advice over the years. 

She said: “Donna has helped countless people both in and out of her work and she’s changed the lives of many more. 

“People would turn to Donna for help and she would do her utmost to get them on the straight and narrow, into work and to change their lives.

“We are devastated beyond belief. It feels like we are in a horror story but that it is someone else’s story – not ours.

“She deserves to be recognised as she has touched so many people’s lives. She never did anything for herself, it was always about other people.”

Vicki went on to speak about the devastating consequences coronavirus is having on lives, urging people to take the lockdown seriously. 

She said: “People have got to start realising how serious this is. Donna was healthy and had never been sick a day in her life.

“This virus is ripping through our communities and as a consequence we’ve lost our beautiful Donna at 42.”

Current restrictions also mean only a select few people will be able to attend Donna’s funeral, leaving close relatives devastated that many friends and family won’t be able to pay their respects. 

As a result, a route has been arranged so people can come out to say their goodbyes in the street before Donna arrives at the crematorium. 

Family are urging people to maintain social distancing if they wish to come out into the street for the procession which will begin at Alderson and Horan Funeral Services near Donna’s home in Crawshawbooth on Monday January 18 at 1pm. It will then follow a route to Accrington Crematorium.

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The route to the crematorium

Vicki said: “Donna was selfless, family-orientated and an amazing friend who would take anyone under her wing.

“As a family we know that her legacy will live on with those people that she has helped.”

So far £8,055 has been raised in Donna’s memory, with all money collected going into a trust for a close family friend Donna spent a lot of time with.

Vicki said: “The little girl we are raising money for, Amalee, is the daughter of Donna’s best friend who sadly passed away five years ago.

“The fact she has lost her mum and now Aunty Donna is devastating.

“When she died, Donna made a promise to her that she would continue to be a part of her daughter’s life and keep her mum’s memories alive.

“The money will be put into a trust and she can spend it as she gets older on travelling or other things she will need.

“We know this is what Donna would have wanted.”

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Donna and Amalee

Many have left tributes on the fundraising web page alongside donations, including one which read: “No words will ever be enough to describe Donna, she was and always will be an amazing, inspirational woman and I will treasure every memory. Fly high my beautiful friend.”

An Instagram page has been created for friends and family to share memories of Donna. Search for @donnaswish

To donate to Amalee, click here.