‘She was unique – bright, bubbly and incredible’

Nicola Duffy
Nicola Duffy

A popular mum from Eastwood who tragically died of cancer aged 35 has been described by her husband as a ‘truly beautiful person’.

Nicola Duffy, who grew up in the town, had a three-year-old daughter and sadly lost her battle to cancer last Thursday.

Her husband, Mark Duffy, said: “She was the most brilliant, clever, bubbly and beautiful person.

“We had a beautiful child together and planned to grow old together. She was an inspirational teacher to so many children and someone who was loved by everyone she met.

“She was unique. Bright, bubbly and just incredible,” he said.

Primary school teacher Nicola – who was previously the Eastwood Advertiser receptionist for five years – would ‘light up a room’, and was always the ‘life and soul of a party’, said Mark.

“She was radiant. She lifted up a room. She had a sparkle about her,” Mark said.

“She was the life and soul of any party.”

Nicola, whose maiden name was McClare, was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.

She was given the all clear in May 2016, but five months later it came back, and had spread to her lungs.

“We had just bought our first house together, and a week or two later she was diagnosed with terminal cancer,” said Mark.

“She had also just started a new teaching job, which she loved.”

Nicola taught a reception class at a school in Derby for just one month before she was forced to leave due to her illness.

Her doting husband, 38, said she was a ‘brilliant’ teacher, and the children ‘simply adored her’.

“She brought so much fun into it – she was just a natural,” he said.

“Because of her bubbly personality the kids just loved her. They loved how she was with them.

“She was so highly thought of by her colleagues as well.

“It was a tragedy she had to stop and so sad she didn’t get chance to fulfil her potential as a teacher,” he added.

The couple’s daughter, Grace, turned three in July and Nicola wanted to throw her a party she would remember forever.

“She doted on Grace. She was so, so proud of her,” said Mark.

“The hardest part of all of this was that she would not see her daughter grow up.

“Nicola wanted to make her party special because she knew it would probably be her last one.

“It was the last time a lot of people saw her which was great because she was on good form dancing around the garden with Anna and Elsa from Frozen,” he joked.

Mark has worked as a sports journalist for the Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser, and several other local titles for 12 years.

The couple met at work, and married at St Mary’s Church in Greasley in 2009.

They first lived together in Giltbrook before moving to Derby a few years ago for Nicola to do her teacher training.

“Nicola was my best friend and my soul mate. We travelled the world together and created memories to last a lifetime,” said Mark.

“We have had so much to laugh about over the last few days, which shows the huge legacy that she’s left behind.

“Nicola’s influence will still be huge on Grace and we will try and impress on her just how amazing her mummy was,” he added.

Nicola grew up in Dovecote Road, Eastwood, where her family still lives today.

She leaves behind husband Mark, daughter Grace, mum Desa, dad Mark and sister Lizzie.

She has several other family members who also live in the town, including her uncle Milan Radulovic, who is the ex-leader of Broxtowe Borough Council.

Funeral arrangements are now taking place.