FAMILY and friends of a devoted young mum with a heart of gold have paid tribute following her unexpected death.

Claire Shipley, from Great Sankey, has been described by her loved ones as a loving, funny and brave woman who remained incredibly strong despite suffering serious health problems.

The 37-year-old was born at Whiston Hospital with a rare heart defect leading to a shortage of oxygen in her blood.

From birth, Claire underwent several life-saving operations, including open heart surgery.

During her time in intensive care she had to have additional emergency surgery and her last rites were read out.

But against the odds, Claire survived.

Aged three, Claire was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and had to manage both insulin injections and heart medication but despite her illnesses, friends describe her a a 'happy little girl who lived life to the full'.

The former Great Sankey High School pupil became pregnant in her early 20s but unfortunately her baby, Jack, was stillborn when Claire went into labour at 28 weeks.

Because of Claire’s health problems she was advised by doctors that she would not be able to carry a baby full term.

Later, Claire became pregnant with her miracle baby Maisie-Rose.

After a difficult pregnancy she gave birth to Maisie at 29 weeks, weighing just 2lb 4oz and is now a healthy 10-year-old girl.

Through her younger years, Claire managed her diabetes well, but as she got older struggled with eye problems, nerve damage, and more recently, kidney failure.

Warrington Guardian: Claire with her mum RoseClaire with her mum Rose

Claire was put on dialysis at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and at a time when most people would have felt dejected and sad, Claire continued to remain strong, positive and committed to being an incredible mum to Maisie.

Sadly, doctors later explained to Claire that she would need a heart, kidney and pancreas transplant.

She was added to relevant donor lists but by the time organs were available, doctors advised Claire that she would not be strong enough to recover from surgery.

Shortly afterwards Claire learned that her heart condition had worsened and was considered terminal.

Friends say that even after this devastating news, she remained positive and fought every step of the way, determined to be in Maisie’s life for as long as possible.

Claire’s health struggles and her misfortune of losing baby Jack are just some of the difficulties that her family have faced.

Claire was one of four children to Rose Fallows and Graham Shipley.

Her dad, Graham, died many years ago following struggles with type 1 diabetes and the same illness also caused her brother, Stephen, to go blind aged 19 before his death aged 31.

Warrington Guardian: Suzanne, Laura and Claire at Stephen's fundraiserSuzanne, Laura and Claire at Stephen's fundraiser

Claire's younger sister, Suzanne, also struggles with type 1 diabetes and had a kidney transplant in 2015, donated by her mum, Rose but contracted sepsis in 2017 – which resulted in her having to have her leg amputated.

Friends say Claire was doing well, and doctors were astounded at her apparent good health considering the circumstances, however she went to sleep last Wednesday, October 30 and, unexpectedly, did not wake up.

Claire Hampson, a close friend, said: "Claire was a great friend with an amazing sense of humour. Me and my daughter Maddie enjoyed spending time with Claire and Maisie, going bowling, go karting, enjoying a hilarious Anglesey experience and of course pub nights and meals.

"We had planned a trip to Stoke Waterworld with my other daughter Sophie, Claire was nervous of looking different in a swimming costume so we made a deal to all wear all in ones, we decided if we all look the same Claire would have nothing to worry about but sadly she became too poorly to do this.

Warrington Guardian: Claire with her daughter MaisieClaire with her daughter Maisie

"I did try to get her out of the house and we did have so much fun when we could. When we could not get out of the house we played Fortnite online together with Maisie and Maddie which made us laugh as I was useless and Claire seemed to do so much better than me.

"She said that was a benefit of being poorly at home, being able to practice all day ready for the evenings when I had finished work.

"Me and my girls loved to nip round in our dressing gowns just for a brew.

"Claire was an amazing mum and she was also very close to my daughter Maddie, who at times spent every other day at Claire’s during school holidays, I would have to keep checking on them and delivering McDonald’s when required.

"Claire was caring, always listening to my problems even when she was going through so much in her own life.

"She was feisty, protective, loving, funny and a good friend. She just always wanted to do normal things and have a normal life.

"She will be missed by myself and all my family."

Another friend, Sammy Oates, added: “Claire was the most honest, loving, bravest woman. I massively admired her courage and bravery.

“She was a fantastic mother, sister, daughter and the most amazing friend to me. We helped each other through our difficult times. She was a true friend and I miss her with all my heart. Fly high my beautiful angel.”

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help support the Shipley family with funeral costs.

Any additional donations will be passed on to Claire’s daughter Maisie to help support her future.

To donate visit