Charity work continued despite Kentish Town fundraiser’s brave cancer battle

A beloved Kentish Town charity fundraiser - who was once described by Noel Edmonds as “feisty and voluble” - has died, aged 55, after a three year struggle with breast cancer.

Known for her commitment to charity, Janet Lavin went on fighting until the very end.

In between her cancer treatments she continued to raise money to make Captain Jack’s Holiday House, in Essex, wheel chair accessible.

But charity work was more than a hobby.

Mrs Lavin, who lived in Manor Park Road, East Finchley, was founder and manager of Choices, which offers support to adults with learning disabilities.

The programme, run through the Camden Society in Kentish Town, was the first of its kind in the UK.

John Crawford, of the Camden Society, described Mrs Lavin as “dynamic and down to earth”.

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“She was totally passionate, so committed and brilliant at running Choices,” he said.

In 2010, amid the tragic death of her son-in-law and the diagnosis of her two-year-old granddaughter with leukemia, Mrs Lavin nominated her family for a special surprise on Noel’s Christmas Presents.

After inviting Noel Edmonds into her home and having him play butler for the day, the family went on holiday to Disneyland Paris.

What Mrs Lavin didn’t know was that someone from the Camden Society had also nominated her for a surprise.

Mrs Lavin and her husband were jetted off to Las Vegas - “where dreams really do come true” – and Mrs Lavin shared a ballroom dance and sang a duet with her idol Donny Osmond.

Mrs Lavin will be remembered for her tireless devotion to other people, supporting her family through illness and death, she also remained a pillar stone in the community with her charity work.

Her husband John Lavin said: “I met Janet in 1979. We married three months later and have been married for 32 years.

“When I first met Janet it was set up as a blind date. Janet was full of life and was hard to keep up with.

“It was non-stop, what with her work including grandchildren, and her charity work.

“She had lots of plans for the future. She also loved her holidays and going down to our caravan down in Kent.”

Mrs Lavin is survived by her loving husband, three daughters, a son, and 12 grandchildren.

Captain Jack’s Holiday House in Essex continues to be enjoyed by holiday makers with disabilities.