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RSPCA volunteer now ‘at peace’ with husband

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

  • Betty and Clive Gibson - diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday March 31.

  • Betty and Clive Gibson - diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday March 31.

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TRIBUTES have been paid to an 86-year-old animal charity volunteer who died just a year after her beloved husband.

An inquest into the death of Burton RSPCA volunteer Betty Gibson, who lived at Grangewood Lodge care home, in Lullington Road, near Netherseal, ruled her death as accidental after a fall broke her hip.

Her daughter, Wendy Chambers, described her mother as ‘a vibrant lady, full of fun’ but who later grew ‘tired and fed up and missed her husband’, Cliff, who died last year after 62 years of marriage.

She said: “My mother was a vibrant lady, full of fun. Her four main friends were all 20 years younger than her.

“She met my father in the 1940s and they would go everywhere together.

“She had a great love of animals.”

It was Mrs Gibson’s love of animals that led her to volunteering for Burton RSPCA for more than 20 years, with Cliff. The couple was involved in the charity’s fund-raising as well as vetting members of the public who wanted to rehome the animals.

They also appeared in the Mail to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary in 2011.

The inquest heard that Mrs Gibson was registered as partially sighted in 2007, before having a stroke in 2009 and later developing dementia.

In 2012 she moved to the care home. On January 10, this year, she had a fall in her room but the extent of her injuries were not immediately clear. Whe it became apparent she was taken to hospital on January 14 and a right hip fracture was diagnosed.

Mrs Gibson had surgery the same day but unfortunately died from a heart attack in hospital on January 18.

Andrew Haigh, South Staffordshire coroner, recorded the cause of death as hip fracture, heart attack and frontal lobe dementia.

Mrs Chamber said after the inquest: “She was always talking. When she had her stroke, the nurses kept saying: ‘Betty, you either have to walk or talk. You can’t do both’. When she had her fall I wondered whether she had been talking at the time.

“(Towards the end) she was tired and fed up and she missed my father. She is just at peace now.”

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