Devastated family's tribute to 'inspirational' Norfolk woman Hannah Betts after death from cancer

230522 hannah and lucy betts
Hannah Betts on the right with her big sister Lucy Credit: Jan Betts

A heartbroken family have spoken of their grief at the death of an inspirational young woman whose struggles with an incurable skin condition won the hearts of thousands.

Hannah Betts and her big sister Lucy made headlines across the world after they were born with a condition which meant they made too much skin.

Now Hannah from Bradwell near Great Yarmouth, has died from cancer at the age of 32.

Her mum Jan Betts, 71, said the family were devastated at her loss.

"She fought so, so hard but her little body just couldn't take any more," she said. "She's gone now, bless her, but at least she is not in pain any more."

Dad Clive Betts, 66, said: "We'd like her to be remembered as inspirational. She had the most wonderful smile ever.

"She was so brave and and determined to live and she fought to the very last breath."

Sister Lucy posted a message on Twitter on 18 May saying: "Today at 12.15 my beautiful baby sister Hannah lost her fight with cancer. Devastated does not cover it.

"Thank you to everyone who asked about her and loved her. Rest in peace, my most beautiful girl."

The sisters have been battling Harlequin Ichthyosis, a severe genetic disorder, since they were born in the 1980s.

They had to endure a gruelling daily routine when they were children, including frequently bathing and then lubricating their skin to keep it from cracking.

The family's trials were the subject of a half hour documentary made by ITV and they made frequent appearances on ITV News Anglia, always impressing viewers with their cheerful attitude to the debilitating disease which dominated their lives.

Lucy and Hannah Betts as children Credit: ITV Anglia

Hannah was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called T-cell lymphoma in February 2021 and had been fighting the disease since then.

Her skin condition meant there were complications with treatment but she was able to return home and go to her step-sister Emma's wedding in January in a wheelchair.

But in February, Hannah caught Covid and was taken into hospital with pneumonia. She never came home again.

Hannah Betts with her mum Jan Credit: Jan Betts

Her mother described Lucy and her older sister Emma as her rocks in helping to care for Hannah while she was living at home.

Mrs Betts now has Parkinson's disease so can no longer help the girls in the way she used to, she said.

Lucy, 35, has moved out of the family home and lives independently nearby with her fiance.

The family are organising a funeral for Hannah and say they hope she will have a big send-off.

Hannah's dad Clive posted this picture of her on Facebook Credit: Clive Betts

Staff at John Grant School in Caister near Great Yarmouth remembered Hannah as a very determined pupil who refused to let her condition get her down.

They described her as friendly and popular and always willing to give anything a go.

In a statement the school said: "She overcame so many challenges and didn’t let anything hold her back.

"She was a wonderful and much loved young lady who was an inspiration to us all."