Tributes to inspirational “pink lady”, from Thetford

The family of a woman whose mantra was “live, love, laugh” has paid tribute to her life.

Suzanne “Suzie” Rush, nee Large, 48, died at home on October 25 following a four-year journey with motor neurone disease (MND).

She was known by many for her charity work, particularly when in October 2008, following her diagnosis and with best friend Debs Turpin, she set off on a quad bike ride from John o’Groats to Land’s End.

Called the Two Pink Ladies Challenge, the pair travelled the length of the UK on pink quad bikes, with help from family, friends and hospice staff. The challenge raised �30,000, but on arriving in Land’s End, Suzie learned her sister, Rosie, who also had MND, had died earlier that day.

Her mother, Jenny Large, who lives in Thetford, said: “Suzie inspired people. All the family and Rosie’s children have done a full or half- marathon for the hospice or MND Association. A lot of people will miss her. She always made people smile and laugh, even in the most difficult circumstances, and she always looked effortlessly beautiful, right to the end.”

Mrs Rush, who lived at Bradfield St George, grew up in Thetford and attended Culford School before training in health and beauty at Champneys. She married Mark 26 years ago and had her family – twin sons Guy and Miles, 25, and Camilla, 21 – before becoming a senior lecturer in health and beauty at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds.

Miles said: “She always put people first above anything else. Even when the disease got worse, she would say ‘I am so lucky’. She’d say she had so many friends and family. To her, friends and family were the most important things in life.”

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Her husband said his wife had “made friends” with her illness, and added that she was a “courageous” person who lived all aspects of her life with passion and enthusiasm. Prior to her diagnosis she had taken part in activities including caving, abseiling, riding on Irish beaches and a bobsleigh holiday.

“She was willing to have a go at most things,” he said. “Now, the next generation are trying to raise funds for charity. There is a Two Pink Ladies Ball on November 24, which Suzie had a little input into before she died.” Throughout her illness, Mrs Rush spent periods on the hospice’s Sylvan Ward, at Orchard Day Therapy and was supported by the Family Support Team.

Mr Rush added: “Suzie really cared for and appreciated all the people who had helped. She was so grateful to the health service and others from all walks of life who supported her. Suzie was loved by everybody.”

Her son Guy added: “She always thought of the hospice as a place to rest and recuperate. She thought of it as her ‘home’.”

Her daughter Camilla said: “She was the best mum in the world.”

The Two Pink Ladies ball, at Alpheton Hall Barns on November 24, has been organised by Suzie’s children and those of Rosie and Debs, in aid of the hospice and the MND Association. For more information, email

Mrs Rush’s funeral will take place on November 7 at St Edmudsbury Cathedral at 2pm, followed by a private cremation. All are welcome. Mourning attire is not necessary, but a touch of pink is welcome. Family flowers only but donations to St Nicholas Hospice Care or the MND Association can be sent directly to L Fulcher, 80 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds.