Islanders have donated over £4,500 to help a local family avoid debt as they fund the funeral of their mother - a "rock" with "a heart of absolute gold" - after she suddenly passed away aged just 54.
Belinda Shales - mum to Bianca, Tanya, Mark and Twinkle and grandmother to Jayleigh, Kaleea and Missie - passed away unexpectedly on 26 April.
Born in Jersey, Belinda worked in different places in Jersey, including residential and nursing homes, Rouge Bouillon School and local cafés. She was also in the Parent Teacher Association at St. Clement’s School and the chairman of the Royal British Legion Club.
Pictured: Bianca said her mum had a "heart of gold".
Belinda loved animals, especially her sausage dog Kingsley that she called her “baby”. She also enjoyed DIY, and always told her children that she would build things for them instead of them buying items.
“She was always on the go and doing things,” Bianca, one of her daughters, told Express. “She didn’t stop, she used to work nights and days,” added Tanya.
“She had a heart of gold,” she continued. “She would do anything for anyone, and she always put everyone before herself. She lived life like a 18-year-old and left an impression on everyone she met.”
Pictured: Belinda - here picture with Tanya - was an amazing mum, her children said.
Belinda’s children say she was “an amazing mum” and like a best friend to all of them. “The relationship we had with her, no one else would have that with their parents because they wouldn’t have that bond. She knew our darkest secrets,” said Bianca.
Belinda was also a second mum to all of our children’s friends. “She always had about 100 kids in her house. She had a way with children,” Bianca said. “I don’t think anyone had a bad word to say about her,” added Tanya.
It was her children’s friends who decided to set up a GoFundMe page to help the family deal with the costs of her funeral. “All our friends spoke about wanting to help in some way,” Tanya said.
Pictured: Belinda, with Mark, her only son.
Jack Townsend, who created the page, said him and his sister considered Belinda as family for the majority of their lives. "Belinda was an incredible woman and subsequently a Mother to four incredible children... She was also a very loving Nanny," he wrote on the page.
"There are no words to describe the void left by her passing to her family and friends. She was truly the Matriarch of her family; a position that she cherished dearly. To her immediate family she was a rock and indeed a pillar of strength. To her friends, Belinda will always be remembered as the life of the party, the hostess-with-the-most-ess [sic], the Queen B with a heart of absolute gold."
The page raised over £2,600 in just 24 hours with many of the contributors paying tribute to Belinda. The original target of £3,000 has now been passed with donations totalling £4,535 at the time of writing.
Pictured: Belinda - pictured with Twinkle - was a "warrior woman," Tanya said.
“We didn’t realise how much it would raise,” Tanya said. “Some of the people knew our mum but not us and donated money.”
“It’s been a massive help. We can’t thank people enough,” Bianca added. “Without them, we would be in debt.”
Belinda’s funeral will take place at St. Thomas's Church on 31 May at 12:00. To respect Belinda’s wishes, all who attend are asked to wear black. “It was a mark of respect for her,” Bianca said. “She had morals and she was true to them.”
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to be made to the Animal Shelter to honour Belinda's love for animals.
Pictured: Belinda with her granddaughters, Jayleigh, Kaleea and Missie.
The family has invited all those who knew Belinda to join in on a “celebration of her life” at St. James Wine Bar after the funeral. “It will be a proper Belinda party,” Tanya and Bianca said, adding that their mum loved a party and was always the first one up for karaoke.
“She always had a black fur coat when she was going out!” said Bianca. “All the memories are good memories. She always had a smile on her face no matter what was going on.”
Tanya added: “She wore her heart on her sleeve, she was a warrior woman.”
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