Tributes have flooded in for a Burton nurse whose career spanned five decades.
Kris Hickinbotham, who was born and bred in Burton, and was affectionately known as 'Hicky', died after a short illness last month aged 68.
She attended Joseph Clark Junior School in Burton before marrying a past fellow pupil, and started her nursing career in Lichfield.
She began working at Lichfield's Victoria Hospital after moving to the city in 1972 and became a nursing sister.
Specialising in the care of children Kris was a registered adult and paediatric nurse, serving at the 'Vic' for 32 years and then as a nursing practitioner at The Spires Medical Practice in Lichfield and Burntwood, the Lichfield Mercury reports.
She was a reassuring and constant presence providing care to generations of Lichfield citizens.
Colleague Angela Reynolds said: "I first met Kris in the seventies when, fairly newly married she became one of the team of registered nurses working at the Victoria Hospital.
"From the start she was so much more than an efficient, compassionate nurse – important as that is.
"The Victoria was a family hospital – we cared for grandparents down to grandchildren – and Kris knew them all and how they were related.
"Consequently we were regularly aware of families who needed extra support.
"Kris had a wonderful way of 'levelling' people without hurting or offending.
"The arrogant and confrontational would receive a quiet metaphorical wrist slap.
"Those who were timid, anxious or frightened were treated to much reassurance and confidence boosting."
"It would be naive in the extreme to suggest that any one of us is blessed with constant, unadulterated happiness – our jobs in nursing brought many emotions.
"However, in retrospect the happiness and fun do stand out – particularly working with Kris."
Dr Richard Henshaw, of The Spires Medical Practice, worked with Kris for 20 years.
"She was golden," he said.
"Competent, experienced, capable, hard-working, loyal and enthusiastic, but most of all caring.
"She had an especial compassion for the elderly and frail, the miserable, heartbroken and anxious, children and disabled.
"And she was fun. I remember we were once doing some minor surgery on a really anxious patient, who said he could not bear to keep his eyes open during the procedure.
"Quick as a flash, Kris replied 'Don't worry – I'll keep my eyes on him and make sure he does it properly!'
"And did she work hard! If she wasn't nursing she would help the receptionists, or tidy up disorganised doctors' consulting rooms, or phoning people who were sick and alone and cheering them up."
Christine Evelyn Hickinbotham (nee Hughes) was born in Burton in September 1948.
One of five children and the only girl born to Evelyn and Albert Hughes, she attended Joseph Clark Junior School in Burton.
Kris trained as a nurse at Birmingham Children's Hospital and it was during this period that she met her husband, Ian.
Ian recognised her from junior school in Burton – he had been a pupil there too – and they began their relationship, becoming engaged on Kris's 21st birthday and marrying in Winshill, the following year.
The couple had two children, Jane and Rob, and Kris was a devoted mum.
Both of her children described her as "amazing", "dependable" and "always there".
Rob said: "When we were swimming, my sis and I, we probably went to 12 training sessions a week, plus maybe a gala on the Saturday as well.
"Dad obviously helped but the vast majority of that mum ferried us to and from.
"If you add that driving to and from football, Cubs, pubs, cricket etc, she never stopped. And none of it was for her."
Kris loved sport, especially cricket and tennis, and was a keen gardener.
She also loved travelling with Ian and together they visited Australia, Borneo, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Sri Lanka and The Maldives.
Camping holidays with family and friends in North Wales were also enjoyed in recent years.
Kris was proud, loving "nanma" to Josh, Jenni, Megan, Daniel, Ben and Hannah.
Son-in-law Meade said she "grasped the joy of being a grandparent with both hands and made the most of every moment.
"She was a natural and our kids felt that love every day they spent with her."
Kris died on June 27 at home.
Her funeral was held on Friday, July 14, at Bretby Crematorium.
A former patient of Kris's made contact with the family and said: "She was the nicest, kindest most fabulous person to enter my life.
"Seven years ago she saved me from my darkest days with treatment and by just talking to me.
"She was an amazing counsellor to me and will never be forgotten – we are all heartbroken."
'Hicky's' family have issued a massive thank you for all the love and support they have received from family and friends over the last few months, and also to everybody who has donated to Cancer Research UK on her behalf.
"Mum would be very proud as we have raised over £1,200," the family said.
"Thank you," they said.