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Dream trip grounded for dying mum

PUBLISHED: 15:43 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:51 25 August 2010

SADNESS: Janet (centre) with friends and work colleagues Charlotte Lonergan, Holly Kirkand and Ruth Chandler.

SADNESS: Janet (centre) with friends and work colleagues Charlotte Lonergan, Holly Kirkand and Ruth Chandler.

ONE last memorable holiday was all that friends wanted to give a terminally-ill mum but, because of the flight chaos, she may never be able to make her dream trip.

ONE last memorable holiday was all that friends wanted to give a terminally-ill mum but, because of the flight chaos, she may never be able to make her dream trip.

Janet Lee, from West Kingsdown, who has just months to live, is unlikely to witness the spectacular Northern Lights as the next chance to see the stunning display is not until September.

Friends at insurance firm Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Orpington, where she works have spent months raising the £4,000 to fund the trip. But on Tuesday the faint hope that Janet and her husband David had ended as the flying ban due to the ash cloud from Iceland's volcanic eruption continued.

Mrs Lee, 58, said: "I'm desperately disappointed, words can't describe how upsetting it is not to go. It's always been a dream of mine to see the Northern Lights

"When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer my doctors told me to have things to aim for. September can be my next goal. We've rebooked to go then so I have to be positive and try to stay as healthy as I can. I was so touched by the generosity of work friends, I simply have to make this trip."

Her distraught son Steven Lee, 29, of West Street, Erith, said he was 'gutted' for her and that his mum has been told by doctors she has only months to live.

He said: "Even though flights have now resumed the airline says it is concentrating on bringing passengers back to this county rather than reschedule cancelled flights.

"Mum is an amazing woman. My sister, Christine, the whole family are very proud of her.

"I'm gutted she is not going on her dream holiday. The doctors have said she has months rather than years to live.

"She said last year, after being diagnosed, that her deepest regret is that she won't get to see her future grandchildren and watch them grow up.

"But a couple of weeks ago my wife, Cheryl, found out she was pregnant.

"Hopefully, she will be able to see her first grandchild. We said we would keep the sex of the baby a secret so mum could enjoy the surprise."

Colleagues were left stunned and in tears last November when she revealed she had terminal cancer. They devoted their efforts to raising money so she could fulfil her dream."

Ruth Chandler, her manager, said: "It's such a cruel blow, we are all upset to think she cannot go, she was all ready with her bags packed.

"She is an absolute marvel, we would do anything to get her there, call the RAF, Richard Branson, anyone who could help, but it seems there is nothing that can be done.

"Hopefully she will be fit enough to go in September, that's all we can hope and pray for."

Mrs Lee continues to work despite gruelling chemotherapy and is nominated in the company's Pride in People ceremony on May 7 at Chelsea Football Club's Stamford Bridge ground for her courageous fight against cancer.

Janet added: "The thought of not being around to see my grandchildren was something I've had to deal with. But now that the baby is due in November, I want to be here, I want to see that baby."

Her daughter, Christine King, was due to get married in 2011 but brought the wedding forward, held in January this year.

Mrs King, 30, of Caxton Close, Longfield, said: "She doesn't want to give in and will fight to the end, she has never been down about it. Mum is someone to admire for her courage and the way she has continued her work and home life.

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