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'Life and soul' of Haggerston Park Lorraine Carter honoured with '100 dog salute'

PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:11 17 January 2020

Dog walkers and their dogs gather in Haggerston Park before lining Whiston Road as the funeral cortege of Lorraine Carter passed the park. Picture: Polly Hancock

Dog walkers and their dogs gather in Haggerston Park before lining Whiston Road as the funeral cortege of Lorraine Carter passed the park. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

One hundred dogs - and their owners - came out to pay their respects to the "life and soul" of Haggerston Park's dog community, as her funeral procession drove past.

Lorraine Carter (centre right) with Maya, and some of their dog and dog-walking friendsLorraine Carter (centre right) with Maya, and some of their dog and dog-walking friends

Lorraine Carter, of Queensbridge Road, was diagnosed with uterine cancer in November, and sadly died within one month, on December 11.

Her friends organised a '100 dog salute' in Whiston Road on the day of her funeral on Tuesday, which would have been her 54th birthday.

"It was organised chaos," said Kathryn Burgess who met Lorraine 10 years ago when their dogs were puppies, and became her best friend.

"It was great because it was just how Lorraine would have loved it - there was lots of jumping around and dogs barking, and the traffic was stopped for a few minutes so we could all go out and surround the hearse. Her family got to see all the friends they maybe didn't know she had."

Dog walkers and their dogs gather in Haggerston Park before lining Whiston Road as the funeral cortege of Lorraine Carter passed the park. Picture: Polly HancockDog walkers and their dogs gather in Haggerston Park before lining Whiston Road as the funeral cortege of Lorraine Carter passed the park. Picture: Polly Hancock

Kathryn added: "Lorraine was like a high-profile local celebrity, and a lot of people see a picture of her and don't know her by name but they know her face. She brought people together, and her infectious laugh will be greatly missed by everyone.

"A guy at the funeral said he spent 15 hours a week walking around with her. It's like that with these people you have no other connection with other than through your dogs and it's a big missing once something happens to them."

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The dog-walking community has planned to install a memorial bench in the park, and Lorraine's ashes will be spread there along with those of her dog Maya, who sadly died of liver cancer last week.

Dog walkers and their dogs gather in Haggerston Park before lining Whiston Road as the funeral cortege of Lorraine Carter passed the park. Picture: Polly HancockDog walkers and their dogs gather in Haggerston Park before lining Whiston Road as the funeral cortege of Lorraine Carter passed the park. Picture: Polly Hancock

Lorraine's friend Rae Langford is raising money for the Blue Cross animal hospital charity which looked after her throughout her illness.

"The Blue Cross was so good with her but dogs tend to mourn their owner's passing, and I think her spirit was broken," said Kathryn. "She had been with Lorraine every day for nine-and-a-half years."

Cancer of the womb, or endometrial cancer, is the fourth most common cancer for women in the UK, and symptoms can include abnormal vaginal bleeding during or after the menopause.

"You hear a lot about breast and ovarian cancer but women should just get checked out by their doctor if they have those symptoms," said Kathryn.

"It was so quick for Lorraine.

"There are different things we can learn from it. She used to give me a 'to do' list when I went into the hospital, and I said, 'What else do you want on this list?' and she said, 'Just be happy'.

"It's left a lot of people in the park touched and present, and just being happier in life and not worrying about the smaller things."

To donate to the Blue Cross see: justgiving.com/fundraising/lozzalovecrew.

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