Published: 12:21, 14 January 2021
| Updated: 16:57, 14 January 2021
Moving tributes have been paid to a “brave and wonderful” mum and London Bombings survivor who has died after a battle with cancer.
Much-loved Nicky Ratcliff, 44, from Faversham, died last month after courageously fighting the illness for four years.
Her widower has described her as “the most precious of gifts”, who brought “immeasurable laughter, joy and kindness” to those who knew her.
Nicky grew up in Sittingbourne and attended university in Leicester before moving to London, where she worked as a secretary.
On July 7, 2005, she was travelling on a Piccadilly Line train when it was bombed in a string of terror attacks that resulted in the deaths of 52 people.
In an article for walking magazine Ramblers, Nicky later detailed the PTSD she suffered as a result of the terrifying ordeal.
“I felt permanently on edge, panicked over the slightest thing, had terrible nightmares and retreated from my social life,” she wrote.
She moved back to Sittingbourne 18 months after the 7/7 attack, and joined a local walking group in 2012.
In 2012, she joined a local walking group and soon began walking every week.
“The exercise made me physically stronger but also did wonders for my mental wellbeing,” Nicky wrote in Ramblers.
And it was through the group that she met her future husband, Mike.
The couple married in 2014. The following year, their beloved daughter Ivy was born, and in 2016 the family moved to Faversham.
Nicky began running and completed the London Marathon in aid of Bliss, the UK’s leading charity for premature and unwell babies.
“It made us all so proud,” said Mike. “Nicky wanted to make people happy, marry a loving man and have a family. It was always the people that counted most for Nicky.
“At least for a time, her dreams truly did come true.”
Sadly, the family was dealt a devastating blow when Nicky was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2017, just a year after Ivy was born.
Despite undergoing a lumpectomy and radiotherapy, the aggressive cancer spread to Nicky’s liver.
In the following years, she underwent a wide range of treatments.
She also gained huge popularity through her Twitter account ‘Nikki Stix’, where she amassed almost 30,000 followers.
There, she became increasingly engaged with politics, supporting the campaign for Brexit, while also documenting her cancer journey.
On December 18, Nicky sadly lost her four-year battle.
“We were always fighting an uphill battle,” said Mike. “Her cancer was unfortunately just a very, very nasty one. It was stage four pretty much from the start.
"Her raucous belly laughs will reverberate through the hearts of all who knew her for many years to come..."
“She fought it very bravely."
“When the end came it just all happened very very quickly.”
Later that day, Mike took to Twitter to inform her followers.
“She was totally calm and I held her hand the whole way through,” he wrote. “She had no pain at all and she’s finally at peace.”
Her death sparked an immense outpouring of grief, with thousands of comments and heartfelt tributes written within minutes.
“She was the bravest person I’ve ever known,” wrote one Twitter user, while others described her as “a brave and wonderful soul” and “a force to be reckoned with”.
In a post on his website, blogger David Moore described Nicky as “instantly likeable” and “the Brexiteer’s Brexiteer”.
"Her aim was always to bring together, not divide," he wrote.
He also praised the way Nicky documented her battle with cancer “with a candour and openness that helped many”.
“She shared never to garner sympathy, only ever to inform and inspire,” he said. “She did it effortlessly, with humour and with good grace - never afraid to give a little bit more of herself to build up those around her.”
Nicky’s funeral took place on Tuesday.
In a tribute read at the service, Mike said: “Despite the challenges of her last years, Nicky never failed to conduct herself with dignity and humility and her love and commitment to her family and friends never dimmed. Not one bit! She was an example to us all.
“Her raucous belly laughs will reverberate through the hearts of all who knew her for many years to come.
“For all of us it feels cruel that Nicky was taken earlier than we ever imagined, but for the 44 years that we had Nicky, she gave immeasurable laughter, joy and kindness to those of us who were blessed to have her in our lives. She was the most precious of gifts.”
Those keen to make a donation in Nicky’s memory are asked to do so to charity Bliss, by visiting nickyratcliff.muchloved.com.