Tributes have been paid to a brave mother-of-two who has died after losing her two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer - but not before she fulfilled several lifetime ambitions after her “bucket list” was published on Facebook.

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Melanie Swan Horton, 47, from Thorpe St Andrew, wrote the “bucket list” to help keep focused after she was given six months to live after the bowel cancer she was fighting progressed into both her liver and lungs.

The former Thorpe St Andrew High School pupil saw many of her dreams come true thanks to the generosity of people and groups, including learning to salsa, attending her first music festival and skinny dipping.

She also went to see Phantom of the Opera in the West End and stand-up comedian Keith Lemon.

Another treat was a surprise champagne ride in a limousine organised by friends to coincide with her birthday.

One of the last items on her “bucket list” that she was able to achieve was to wear a ballgown to a fund-raising event she organised at the Talk in Oak Street, Norwich, last month.

Her parents Ann and Ralph Thompson, who live in Turkey but are now back in Norwich, said their beautiful daughter died on November 9.

They said that her “bucket list” had kept her focused, and added: “It was fantastic for her and kept driving her on. It gave her something to look forward to. She did not complete it, but she was not disappointed.”

They said she remained positive and tried to maximise the time she had left.

“She also touched many other people’s lives promoting awareness of bowel cancer on every occasion she could,” they said.

“This manifested itself in magazines and newspapers including the Evening News and Eastern Daily Press.

“The ball at the Talk boasted her spirits and raised over £2,000 for the Big C Centre at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital and the Rosemary Group (for people with secondary cancers).

“After the ball, which seemed to sap all her energy, but which she did because of her commitment, she deteriorated rapidly and was admitted to Priscilla Bacon Lodge, which was her wish, and died just 11 days after admission.

“Mel always had a love of life and had many, many friends who supported her throughout her illness and gave her the great strength which she always seemed to display despite great pain and discomfort. Her twin girls Leanne and Maria, 25, were her life and they are clearly devastated as are we all.”

They thanked friends for supporting their daughter and also the staff both at the NNUH and Priscilla Bacon Lodge.

Mrs Swan Horton, who was previously a project manager with charity Beat, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer when she was 44. She had suffered from bleeding, tiredness and changing bowel habits, but had put them down to her body building and diet.

She went through six months of chemotherapy, but then heard the terrible news that the cancer had spread to her liver.

She was due for an operation on the liver, but was told that it had spread to her lung, meaning another six months of chemotherapy was required.

The funeral (which she had planned in advance) is on November 26 at St Faith’s at 10.15am. She requested that bright coloured clothing be worn, family flowers only and donations to The Big C Centre via Peter Taylor Funeral Services, Unthank Road, Norwich.

visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org or www.big-c.co.uk

Do you know somebody who is bravely battling against the odds? Contact reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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