Champion swimmer Heidi Wood dies days after being diagnosed with cancer
A CHAMPION swimmer who represented Great Britain on 32 occasions has lost her battle with cancer just days after she was diagnosed.
Heidi Wood passed away peacefully on Saturday, aged 51, leaving a "massive hole" in the lives of her loved ones.
Heidi made her name in the late 1970s when she won a silver medal in the 4X100m freestyle relay at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.
While there, she shared a room with her chief rival and good friend Sharron Davies who yesterday also paid tribute to her lost friend.
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Her husband of 22 years, Paul, 49, has described his wife as an "absolutely doting" mother to their two children Tom, 18, and Millie, 17.
He said: "She was completely selfless and she basically did everything for all three of us. She will leave a massive hole. It has been a huge shock.
"Firstly being told it was terminal was debilitating enough but to then be told she only had a few days."
Heidi, who lived with her family in Sydenham Road South in Fairview, and went to school at Pate's Grammar School, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October last year, but had been given the all clear in July.
However, she started experiencing pain a few weeks ago and her condition quickly deteriorated.
Her parents Bob, 73, and Roz, 72, said everyone had been "stunned" by Heidi's death.
Bob said: "Sharron Davies and Heidi were vying for top position when they were coming up.
"Heidi could beat her at her best event which was the 100 metres freestyle.
"She was one of those lucky girls.
"My side of the family tend to be good athletes and my wife's side of the family tend to be more intelligent.
"Heidi was lucky because she got a bit of everything."
He added: "I was trying to think about when we had an argument with our daughter and I cannot recall one.
"She was the most amazing girl.
"She wasn't arrogant and she never really believed how good she was until later in life when it dawned on her. She was so humble.
"She never talked about her swimming – she would get embarrassed."
In a glittering athletic career, Heidi won four silver medals in the 100m freestyle at the British National Championships as well as silver in the 200m individual medley and four bronze medals in the 200m individual medley.
"When her swimming career wound down she kept competing in masters events, setting three world records.
Sharron Davies said: "I used to share rooms with Mitzi, Heidi's sister when I was 10, then when Heidi became a senior international we shared rooms at the Commonwealth Games and were on the same relay teams.
"She was a formidable competitor, a great mum, wife and friend and I will miss her extremely."