The family of college lecturer Caroline Larmour have described the “huge chasm” her loss will leave in their lives after she died from COVID aged 50.
A mum of four, Caroline lived in Appleby since 1999 with her husband Joel — who is a police community support officer in the town — and their children Lauren, aged 25; Hannah, 22; Luke, 19; and Emma, 14.
Both Caroline and Joel have been active members of the Influence Church group in Penrith and Caroline was well-known for her caring nature, always wanting to help others.
Caroline, Joel and three of their four children contracted coronavirus in late December, leading to Caroline being hospitalised after Christmas.
She died at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, on 30th December.
Originally from Liverpool, she was the daughter of Bob and Ann McMinn who she is survived by, along with her brother Rob, who now lives in Australia.
Caroline and Joel met in 1992 while both attending a church conference in Bognor Regis. They went on to marry in Southport the following year and made their first home in Bristol.
The couple moved around for several years while Joel worked as a church leader, relocating to Penrith in May, 1998, for a new role in the ministry.
After 18 months of living in Penrith, the family moved to Appleby in 1999 and in 2006 Joel joined Cumbria Constabulary after a period working in security.
Prior to taking on a career in education, Caroline had worked for the Inland Revenue but also volunteered with East Cumbria Family Support and Barnardo’s and took an NVQ to become a teaching assistant.
Around 10 years ago, Caroline became a mature student at the University of Cumbria and after gaining her degree in child and family studies she underwent teacher training, going on to become the a lecturer in working with children and families, mainly based at the Fusehill Street campus in Carlisle.
With a passion her for work, she was keen to help others and developed guidance on best teaching practice.
Outside work, she and Joel were active members of the Influence Church in Penrith. She helped to establish a youth club through the ministry and just weeks before her death in December she spearheaded a campaign which saw volunteers collect donations of baby goods for families in need.
She also linked with Penrith midwives to provide hampers to families facing financial struggles during the pandemic.
Joel said his wife was always cheerful and had a wicked sense of humour with comical sarcasm. She was down to earth, consistent and straightforward with a warm personality that quickly made everyone she met feel at ease.
Caroline suffered from underlying health issues of asthma and migraines and began to feel unwell days before Christmas.
She and Joel tested positive for the virus and her health deteriorated quickly with extreme tiredness leading to her being hospitalised on 27th December.
Even while seriously ill Caroline continued to show her caring nature by agreeing to take trial medication in a bid to help others.
Donations in her memory are being made to Coronavirus Research via the University of Oxford Development Trust.
Joel, who along with their three children contracted the virus and has now recovered, said: “We always said we would be lost without Caroline.
“She had such a fantastic relationship with her children and was there to talk about anything and everything. A deep chasm has been left and a feeling of great loss.”
He went on to thank those who are supporting them including family, friends, those within the church, both he and Caroline’s work colleagues, and the wider community of Appleby and beyond.
Influence Church senior pastor Gale Dowding paid tribute to Caroline on social media, describing her as “a real life super woman” and “woman who lived to make other people’s lives better”.
“Caroline loved people, she recently ran our baby bundles events in Cumbria because she saw the need and heard stories that moved her to action.
“She led passionately in ways that I admired deeply, she parented with an ease and grace and she loved Joel her husband deeply.
“She had a brilliant and sarcastic sense of humour that made any time with her, fun and usually ending in lots of laughter.”
A private funeral service will be held at The Sands Methodist Church on Thursday at 2pm with Walkers Funeral Directors, Appleby, having care of arrangements.