DINNINGTON ground to a halt to pay its respects to a North Anston woman who died suddenly aged 38.
Mum-of-two Paula Robinson was given a grand send-off fit for a princess, with her funeral carriage pulled by two white horses.
Her family, who followed behind in white limousines, have this week paid tribute to their “gorgeous girl” who was taken from them too soon.
Paula died on 10th June after contracting a vicious heart condition just days before.
Paula was born and raised in North Anston before moving to Costhorpe with husband John in 1999.
The couple met while Paula was at Dinnington Comprehensive School. They would have celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary next week.
John, 47, said he had lost his rock and would do anything to have her back. “I just can’t come to terms with why she has been taken from us,” he said. “She gave me the best 23 years of my life and I will miss everything about her. I worshipped the ground she walked on.”
Paula, a cruise consultant for Ilkeston Coop Travel at Meadowhall, lived life to the full, said her family.
She held down a part-time job, doted on her children Bethany, 10, and Daniel, 16, and had a great relationship with her parents.
“We shopped together, laughed together and even did the housework together,” said mum Lynne Brumfield. “She was my best friend as well as my daughter.”
“She would always ring me if we hadn’t seen each other for a few days and say ‘miss you lots’.”
Dad Philip said his daughter was “one in a million”.
“I could not have asked for a better daughter,” said Philip. “She was amazing, so caring and had a smile that would light up the room.”
Paula’s kind and caring nature made such an impact on everyone she met that hundreds turned out to her funeral. St Leonard’s Church in Dinnington was packed with 400 mourners, but hundreds more gathered outside where a PA system relayed the service.
Lynn said: “It was amazing to see all those people come out for Paula. Someone said to me it was fit for a princess, which it was. We just wanted to give her the send-off she deserved.”
Paula was well known for being the social secretary among friends and family, always organising the next holiday or night out. And working for a travel agency, cruises were her speciality.
Paula had a passion for clothes and would take any opportunity to get dressed up – especially on holiday.
“I was so proud to be with her,” said John. “She turned heads wherever we went”
The family holidayed three or four times a year to places like Egypt, Hawaii, Dublin and even Hornsea. John said: “We had just been camping near Bridlington with a group of friends – she really enjoyed that.”
But soon after returning, Paula was taken ill. She started with flu-like symptoms on the Sunday but struggled through until Tuesday, when she came home early from work.
The GP prescribed medication to treat what he thought was an ulcer, but rather than improving, Paula’s condition got worse. She developed a pain in her chest which was suspected as being gastric flu, and she was prescribed more medication.
But by Wednesday night John noticed how breathless his wife was and she had developed a cough.
The next day when Philip took her to the surgery, the doctor suggested antibiotics for pneumonia. But Philip insisted she went to hospital.
Consultants were stumped when an x-ray ruled out pneumonia, and the diagnosis changed again – to a blood clot.
Hours went by waiting for blood test results, while all the time Paula’s real killer was attacking her heart.
“She actually died of myocarditis, an untreatable condition which latches on to a virus and inflames the heart,” said John.
The condition is so rare that specialists said there was more chance of winning the lottery than contracting it. “Bassetlaw Hospital has never had a case and the heart specialist hadn’t seen it in 22 years,” said John. “I can’t believe I have lost my gorgeous wife to this.”