It is with great sadness, and a heavy heart, I have to report the passing of Carol Coombes. Carol was awarded an O.B.E, and an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University, for her outstanding achievements in business, and her tireless, compassionate, services to the voluntary sector in Birmingham. But this is only a fraction of what she did to inspire, and make everyone fall in love with her.
Carol and I worked on some pieces for Pf Magazine, from the very first day she connected with me on LinkedIn, I knew she was the kind of person I had never met before, and am very unlikely to meet again. Once diagnosed with throat cancer, Carol took things head-on, like everything else in her life she gave it 100% of her time and energy. Carol wanted to make a difference, she tried many unconventional treatments, with the support of her close family and friends.
It is evident among the many social media groups she ran, the way in which Carol touched peoples’ lives, people she had yet to meet.
I know Carol won’t mind me saying, but sometimes I didn’t have a clue what she wanted me to do. Several What’s App messages later, and one lengthy 3-hour phone call, and to be completely honest I was still none the wiser. None the wiser how to execute, and communicate the passion with which Carol spoke. Her head was bursting with ideas, nothing was just about her, she wanted to use herself as a human guinea pig through her cancer to help other people.
Carol was entertaining, this powerful woman with her cute Brummie accent made my sides ache with laughter. I never met her. I didn’t need to. I was a sounding board, someone Carol said she could offload to, and meeting would spoil everything, it would make me real and she wouldn’t be able to share her feelings with me.
When Carol found it difficult to communicate her thoughts, she was frustrated. She had been this extremely articulate and well-respected person people had listened to, and hung on to her every word. But you can’t keep a good woman down, she didn’t let any of that stand in her way, she kept on talking, and talking, and campaigning. She was going to be heard even if it took longer to get the message across.
Carol left us surrounded by the people who meant the most to her. And boy, her passion for her family knew no bounds. Many calls were interrupted by the arrival of her ‘grandkids’, down the phone line, at opposite ends of the country I could not only hear, but I could feel how she lit up when they entered the room. Leaving her family was going to be the hardest thing she had ever done, selfless to the end, her thoughts were for those she was going to be leaving behind.
Those who knew Carol will know what I mean when I say she was as zen as f*ck. Rest in Peace lovely lady, gone but never forgotten.
A service will be held at Sandwell Crematorium on Wednesday 21st August at 3.15pm. Please spread the word as everyone who knew Carol is welcome; dress in whatever you feel comfortable in. After the service, there will be a wake at the Wagon and Horses from about 4.30 until 8pm.