14/08/2014 16:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Selfless Supermum Quit Her Job To Raise Best Friend's Orphaned Children

Selfless supermum who quit her job to raise best friend's orphaned children

A selfless mum left devastated when her best friend died in a car crash has given her the ultimate gift - by taking in her orphaned children.

Super mum Jane Plume, 41, had been helping her best friend Gina Hibberd cope with the news that her husband had terminal cancer, when Gina was killed in a car crash.

As Jane helped devastated dad Shaun, 40, look after the children, he asked her to make a promise to him to make sure his children were looked after when he passed away.

Jane quit her job and became a full-time carer for Shaun and the boys - and when he died two years later, in November 2012, Jane didn't hesitate to take on Gina and Shaun's sons, Lewis, now 14, and Ashton, now seven, along with her own three children.

And to make sure the heartbroken boys didn't face any more upheaval than they had to, Jane has even moved her two youngest children - Millie, now 17, and Annie-Mae, seven, into Gina's family home, in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

Jane said: "I had talked to my own children about taking care of Lewis and Ashton, and there was no doubt about it.

"The kids were already close because Gina and I were friends for so long, so they were like brothers and sisters anyway.

"I didn't think twice about taking them on - Gina was my best friend and I would have done anything for her.

"It was devastating when Shaun asked me to take care of the kids when he had gone, but everyone knew that would be the best thing for the children. I'm glad I could do her this one last favour."

When HGV driver Shaun was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2009, Gina, a PA, was devastated and turned to her friend of 14 years, Jane, for support.

They threw themselves into organising a renewal of their wedding vows to help cope with it all but no one could have expected what would happen in the following months.

Gina had been on her way to work at her new job when she was involved in a horrific car smash which killed both drivers at the scene.

Jane said: "I couldn't believe it when Shaun called me to tell me the news.

"I went into complete shock and just kept focusing on caring for Shaun and the boys and organising the funeral.

"Telling Lewis and Ashton was so hard and trying to explain to a five-year-old that their mother had died was horrible.

"It was such a terrible time for everyone as we had all lost someone that was so close to us."

After organising the funeral Jane knew she would have to do more to help care for Shaun while he was so ill.

"Shaun was in and out of hospital for treatment and so I had no other choice but to quit my job and become his full-time carer.

"I didn't think twice about it and just changed from making a meal for me and my own children to making enough to feed Shaun and the children.

"Watching Shaun go through cancer was horrible but he was so well looked after in the hospital."

When Shauns' condition worsened e he started discussing the care of the boys with Jane. And when Shaun asked Jane to care for them she had no hesitation in saying yes, but wanted to check with all the children to make sure everyone was comfortable with it.

She added: "We knew what was coming and we wanted to be prepared for it all.

"Having lost Gina it was awful knowing we were going to lose Shaun and all I kept thinking about was how the boys must be feeling going through all this.

"It was hard to comfort them while I was also grieving myself but I found it easy to talk about it all with them and go through things together.

"I often get Ashton pointing at the stars and asking if that's his mummy and daddy and so it's good to know that he still thinks about them."

After Shaun passed away Jane wanted the boys to remain in their family home so they weren't further unsettled. So she moved herself and her two daughters into their house and left her eldest son, Marco, 19, living at her home.

Jane added: "To other people looking in we must just look like a large family.

"The kids all get along well and care for each other like any other brothers and sisters.

"It may seem like a strange set-up to some, but for us it works and it keeps us all settled and comfortable.

"Caring for Shaun and the boys made me realise what a great job the hospital did, and I'm now training in holistic therapy so hopefully I can help people who are suffering just like Shaun was."

But Jane stresses that she is not doing anything amazing, just exactly what is expected of best friends.

"If it had been the other way round I know Gina would have done exactly the same for me.

"We were just like sisters and we saw each other every day.

"I think Gina would be happy with the arrangement we have and I know the children are all happy with how we are.

"There isn't a day goes by that I don't miss her but at least I have a part of her with me in her sons."

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