The family of a co-founder of Highland Hospice has led tributes to the “simply amazing woman” who died yesterday.
Cecilia Bottomley and her friend Flora Mackay were the driving forces behind the campaign to establish the hospice in Inverness in the early 1980s.
Mrs Bottomley, who had three children and four grandchildren, spent her last few days in the care of the hospice after battling breast cancer and latterly a brain tumour.
She died the day before she would have turned 67.
Son Scott said his mother was “a simply amazing woman” who was “the heart of the Bottomley family and a friend to everyone she met”.
He added: “Her spirit will live on with her wonderful grandchildren.
“As a founder of the Highland Hospice it was fitting that in her final days she was looked after by the tremendous staff.”
A funding page has been set up to allow Mrs Bottomley to “raise money one final time” for the charity she helped start.
Daughter Tiffany said the family was extremely proud of their mother’s legacy and that caring had been at her core.
Andrew Leaver, the hospice’s head of fundraising and development, said: “Cecilia was one in a million and we were blessed to have her as one of our founders.
“The Highlands will forever owe Cecilia a debt of gratitude for her determination to establish Highland Hospice.
“As an organisation we will be forever thankful for her ceaseless support over nearly four decades. Our thoughts at this time are with her family and the loss they will be feeling.”
Flora MacKay met her “partner in crime” in setting up the charity more than 40 years ago.
She said: “We were chatting over a cup of coffee when I mentioned my thoughts of getting a hospice established in Inverness, realising at the time what a huge task that would be.
“But it was Cecilia’s relentless determination during that time that kept my momentum going, through the next five years until the doors of the Highland Hospice were finally opened.”
Mrs Bottomley was from Cambuslang and worked as a support worker in a psychiatric hospital in Glasgow before moving north with her late husband.
Among her many caring roles was as an advocate for adults with mental health issues, helping them back into education.
With Flora Mackay, she brought together a committee in 1983 to drive forward their vision for a hospice.
In 1987 the first patient entered the Day Hospice and a year later the purpose-built inpatient unit opened. It remains the only hospice serving adults with incurable life-limiting disease in the Highlands.
In 2018 fundraising vans were named Flora and Cecilia after the charity’s founders and last year the hospice opened an archive tracing its origins.