EVE Hoole’s courage and strength took doctors’ breath away.
Seasoned consultants could not believe she had worked while a vicious strain of meningitis strengthened its grip on her body.
But that was Eve. The brave 28-year-old kept up appearances so as not to let down loyal customers at the hair and beauty salon she ran with business partner Clare Beaumont. She got by on painkillers.
“She put on a terrific act,” said her mother, 52-year-old Jean Robertshaw. “Only Clare knew how she was really feeling. For her customers, she was her usual, bubbly self.”
That was the start of a nightmare which ended with Eve’s death in hospital a week later – one day after the anniversary of her wedding to husband, Kieran.
And now, social worker Jean – who lives at Anne Street in Batley – is spearheading a campaign to raise £5,000 for the Meningitis Trust in memory of Eve, who left two small children. The first event is a mega-coffee morning on Friday March 4 at Roberttown salon Bliss.
It was December 9 when Eve first complained of earache and headache. By teatime she felt dizzy and postponed hair appointments until the following day when she worked in spite of spiralling illness.
“Neurologists were stunned,” said Jean. “They couldn’t believe she had worked in such a state.”
The following day, Eve and Kieran were to celebrate their anniversary by going to the musical Oliver! in London. But Jean was called to their Hightown home to find Eve already unconscious. “She never came round again,” she said.
In denial, Jean urged Kieran to get the show tickets changed to a later date. But when he rang the ticket agency and explained the circumstances, his request was refused. “That was disgusting,” said Jean.
Doctors prepared the stunned family for the worst, even giving them 48 hours extra with Eve on life support because of her young age. To pray or hope for a miracle.
Then it emerged that Eve was on the organ donor register. “We had no idea,” said Jean. “But we would never go against her wishes.”
In the end, Eve only gave her eyes because other organs had been starved of oxygen for too long. “But it means she is helping two blind people to see,” said Jean.
Eve was laid to rest on Christmas Eve – the day before Kieran’s 32nd birthday. More than 600 people packed into Roberttown for the parish church service.
“The village was at a standstill,” said Jean. “We couldn’t set off for the crematorium because of all the cars.”
A collection for the trust raised more than £900.
Born in Batley, Eve spent her early years there before the family moved to Heckmondwike. After attending Mirfield’s Castle Hall School, she went to college and trained at Heads and Tails in Scholes. She later became manager of Hair UK in Dewsbury, did some mobile hairdressing and worked at Halo in Mirfield before setting up her own business with Clare at Bliss.
Jean, who also has a son, Philip, is struggling with Eve’s children, Phoebe, four, and 16-month-old Leo.
“The kids don’t understand,” she said. “Phoebe thinks her mum is now an angel. It breaks my heart to hear her say that. It’s awful. Leo is oblivious to his loss and it hurts to watch him. At first all he did was stand in the kitchen saying: ‘Mam’.”
Kieran works as a builder with Eve’s dad Terence Bailey, who is trying to get him back into things. He gets by thanks to the child-minding efforts of his mum, Margaret Hoole, and his auntie, Brenda.
Jean has set up a tribute page on the Meningitis Trust website, where 17 candles have been lit for Eve at £10 a time.
As well as the coffee morning, other fundraising plans include the Great North Run, a Three Peaks walk and a bungee jump at the Star at Roberttown.
Clare is making £1 ‘happy bags’ containing small items linked to a poignant message of hope. She has raised £160.
Jean hopes for a permanent memorial to Eve at trust headquarters in Stroud and to help pay towards care, support and research.
“I want to stop other people going through what we have been through,” she said.
At first, Jean was very bitter: “I felt it was unfair because she was such a special person. She was my little rock. Fun-loving and bubbly, never miserable. I thought: Why her? When she had so much to live for.
“Everything was going right for her. She was thrilled at starting up with Clare and they had lots of plans for the salon.
“It came out of the blue. I still expect her to walk through the door.
“The nothingness now is hard to accept.”