THE MOTHER of a 34-year-old woman found in a canal this week has paid tribute to her “bright star” who was a friend to all.
Lucy Spafford was recovered from the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, near Bingley, on Wednesday morning.
There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances to her death, according to a West Yorkshire Police spokesperson.
Lucy’s mum, Maggie Garratt, admitted she is still in shock at the news.
She said: “I don’t think I’ve taken it in now.
“I haven’t believed it yet.”
Lucy, 34, was born in Bradford and grew up in Denholme, attending Bingley Grammar School. She studied towards an Art Degree in London for two years, before returning home to finish her final year, then moving onto a part-time Masters.
Mrs Garratt said: “She was just a bright star and was everyone’s best friend.
“She was artistic, funny, witty, but she never thought that much of herself, she was always thinking of other people.
“A true friend to so many people.
“I remember her 30th birthday, so many friends came and they brought food and presents and she always just had some really good friends, because she was a really good friend.
“So many friends loved her and can’t imagine being without her.”
Lucy worked for a publisher in an office for a number of years, but it was nature and art that truly resonated with her.
This, and her frustration at renting, led Lucy to set up on a barge, on the canal, with her cat, Theo, a few years ago.
Mrs Garratt said: “She always fancied living on a boat.
“She used to look at the narrow boats and used to say she’d love to do that.
“She was renting houses, sharing with friends, and she got fed up with renting.
“Her dad helped her with buying the boat.
“It was a huge renovation job, it had actually sunk.
“She’d renovated it right from scratch.
“She mainly loved finding places, quiet stretches of woodland, and she’d watch the squirrels and wildlife.
“She was always drawing and found nature very inspiring.”
The barge was an ongoing project and Lucy poured her heart and soul into it – fixing every new problem that arose and growing plants and vegetables, such as courgettes, on her roof.
Mrs Garratt described her daughter as a very talented individual, who had trained in making stained glass and was a qualified Reiki Therapist.
Lucy wanted to take these skills forward and become self-employed, so she could work more fruitfully alongside the long-term condition she suffered from – fibromyalgia – which causes widespread pain and extreme tiredness.
One of Lucy’s other ideas was to run workshops showing people how to tie-dye using natural sources, such as plants.
Mrs Garratt said: “She had fibromyalgia, so couldn’t always work and was hoping to be self-employed.
“She struggled with health problems and was doing the boat renovations.
“She was a loving person.
“She had all sorts of ideas.
“Sometimes she would be fit and well and other times not.
“She wanted to do things she could do when she was able to.”
Mrs Garratt went down to the canal on Thursday, where people had left flowers, tributes and candles and were congregating throughout the day to celebrate Lucy’s life.
She said: “I’ve heard from people who have been there today (Thursday) and people were coming all the time and just talking about her and everyone had so many memories.
“She worked at some festivals and if you went, you’d get a free ticket.
“The boating people know her, there’s lot of nice people in that community.”
One of Lucy’s friends, Rosie Fielding, had known her since they were both 18 and lived together in two houses, in Allerton, between 2007 and 2009.
She said: “I have been really struggling to find the words.
“So many of her friends are posting tributes, memories, stories on Facebook, and they are beautiful – the outpouring of grief and love is immense.
“Reading all the messages and seeing all the photos, the collective gathering of what she meant to her friends, helps us all to feel closer to her, to fill our minds with her, so she is gone a little less.
“But whenever I start to try join in, I can’t, whatever I try to say isn’t right because it is not enough, and it never can be.
“I guess I have said this, it is a start.”
Many members of the public commented on Facebook to say they knew of Lucy, or had fond tales to tell about their experiences with her – whether fleeting or more substantial.