Tributes have been paid to a “good neighbour” who died from burns ten days after a pamper-night bath with candles went tragically wrong.
Shirley Shaw, who was 72 and lived on Ravenscliffe Avenue, Bradford, lost her fight for survival while being treated for 40 per cent burns at Pinderfields Hospital. Wakefield.
An inquest into her death, which occurred on April 22, has now been opened and adjourned in Bradford.
Mrs Shaw, who lived alone, had been running a bath for herself with candles, but one set fire to her skirt. Next door neighbour Kath Pryce, who had known her for more than 20 years, said: “She’d used the bathwater to put the flames out and called 999 herself.
“She’d been talking to the firefighters and in the ambulance but she deteriorated after a while and had to be transferred from Bradford Royal Infirmary to Pinderfields. Shirley loved a bit of a pamper, she’d put tea lights in the tops of bottles to hold them in and put them all around the bath.
“When I went to see her in hospital she couldn’t talk but she knew I was there. First I told her off for having candles, but then I said how proud I was she’d managed to put out the fire.
“She was in a bad way but we didn’t think she was going to die. It’s shocked lots of people, the estate has been on my doorstep asking about her. She was known by so many people, she always wore bright clothes that never matched and had a long pony tail, she was a quirky and colourful character.
“She’d hang her washing out at 1am in the morning but that was Shirley for you. She was a good neighbour.
“I miss her. A lot of people will – especially her daughter Karen who she loved to bits. We never delved into her past, we never spoke about it because we didn’t need to. As far as I know it was just Karen and her.”
Mrs Shaw’s 40-year-old daughter Karen, who lives in assisted housing in another part of Bradford, moved out of the home ten years ago to be independent. Mrs Pryce said: “Shirley wasn’t in the best of health but never let it get in the way of anything. She’d go off to see her daughter most days. Karen’s been back to the house since to get a few special things, she put one of her mum’s cardigans on her doll. She’s taken the photo albums but doesn’t want to come back here again – it’s too difficult.”
Mrs Shaw belonged to a Christian Fellowship group and had links to St Luke’s Church nearby.
The Reverend John Hartley, who knew her, said: “Shirley took a lively interest in things. She was quite a spiritual person, I found her refreshing. She wasn’t just a church-goer, she had something of Jesus about her.”
Fire investigators put out a warning of the dangers of using candles which they said should be placed on a heat-resistant surface in a proper holder.