Cancer claims former Sidmouth Macmillan chairman Janet

PUBLISHED: 16:28 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:15 17 June 2010

TRIBUTES were paid this week to Janet Peacock, local theatre director, heritage campaigner and former chairman of Sidmouth Macmillan Cancer Support committee, who died of cancer in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Wonford, on Friday, January 9.

TRIBUTES were paid this week to Janet Peacock, local theatre director, heritage campaigner and former chairman of Sidmouth Macmillan Cancer Support committee, who died of cancer in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Wonford, on Friday, January 9.

She was 68.

Janet retired to Sidmouth with her husband Mike 10 years ago, after a career in marketing, latterly as the advertising manager for London Underground.

Diagnosed with breast cancer within days of moving to Sidmouth, Janet's desire to understand more about the disease brought her into contact with Sidmouth Macmillan Cancer Support committee, later becoming chairman for two years.

"Janet was tireless," said her predecessor, Monica Macadam. "She was a tremendous asset to the group and will be sorely missed."

After treatment, Janet's breast cancer went into remission, and she devoted herself to a number of local activities, notably as a theatre director with Sidmouth Amateur Dramatics Society (SADS).

Recent chairman David Harrison, a close friend for 35 years said: "She was a larger than life personality, a fine actress and a fun person. Her productions were inspirational and memorable. We have all lost a great talent."

Janet loved the Devon countryside and became an active member of the National Trust Sidmouth Centre committee.

"She instantly brought flair, enthusiasm and innovation to our discussions," recalled its chairman, Dr. Bob Symes.

She also loved Sidmouth, and in 2006 joined the campaign to save Church House; now renamed Kennaway House, which was at risk of closure without significant public and lottery funding.

Her profile-raising initiatives included organising a photo shoot with more than 400 people gathered together in and around the house in one image, later published in the Sidmouth Herald.

Kennaway House chairman, Dr Michael James, believes the event was "a demonstration of support that was instrumental in securing the Heritage Lottery grant.

"Kennaway House owes Janet a great deal, and we shall miss her very much at the reopening," he said.

In 2007, Janet was diagnosed with secondary bone cancer. Friends described how she fought the illness to the last with her typical vigour and irrepressibly positive outlook. She leaves her husband Mike, brother John, sons Matt and Stephen and six grandchildren.

Her funeral will take place at the Exeter Crematorium at 2pm on Wednesday, January 21.

Family flowers only, with donations in lieu to Cancer Research UK, c/o Potbury's Funeral Services.


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