Further family tribute after fatal crash claims Jan’s life

Jan Short, 63, with Toby
Jan Short, 63, with Toby

The family of a former teaching assistant from Leighton Buzzard who was killed on Saturday, July 26, as she tried to cross a road with her dog, have released a more detailed tribute.

Jan Short, 63, and her pet Toby died in Weymouth, Dorset after they were involved in a collision with a Honda motorbike at about 5pm. The 23-year-old motorcyclist was also killed in the incident.

Before moving to Weymouth, Jan worked at Brooklands School.

The statement, sent to the LBO, read: “Many people in and around Leighton Buzzard will remember Jan Short.

“Janice Linda Short (nee Cosby) was born on 25 June 1951 at Luton and Dunstable Hospital to Leonard Albert and Ethel Jessica Cosby, their only child.

“Jan grew up in Oakley Green in Leighton Buzzard and trained and worked as a hairdresser at Josie Hair Fashions.

“She met her husband Andrew in 1969 when his mum Dorothy (Dimple) Short engineered a meeting between her younger son and Jan who she thought would be a very good match for him. It turned out she was right: Andrew, who worked at Vauxhall Motors in Dunstable at the time, offered to walk Jan home and the young couple married at All Saints Church in Leighton 18 months later on 23 September 1971.

“The newlyweds bought their first house in Vandyke Road and lived there for three years until the arrival of their son Adam Paul prompted a move to a larger family house.

“They moved into Brooklands Drive in 1974 where daughters Emma Jane and Caroline Anne completed their close knit family. Together Jan and Andy built a million happy memories over more than 30 years at their family home before deciding to retire to Weymouth in August 2013, fulfilling a lifetime wish to retire by the sea.

“During their time in Leighton, Jan and Andy held various jobs: Andy was a milkman for E J and P Newens for seven years and then a postman for Royal Mail in Leighton Buzzard before transferring to Bletchley.

“Adam, Emma and Caroline attended Clipstone Brook Lower School then Brooklands Middle and Vandyke Upper School.

“Jan took on an active role wherever her children attended but nowhere moreso than at Brooklands, which she and Andy had also attended when they were growing up – even being taught by some of the same teachers as their children!

“Jan started working at the school as the crossing patrol then lunchtime assistant, lab technician and teaching assistant; remaining at the school for over 20 years and earning friendship, trust and respect from all who worked with her.

“Tributes paid to Jan from colleagues and friends include:

“Jan was always positive and hugely supportive, a good friend. She also had a wicked sense of humour and regularly put herself out to help in hectic situations. She was so delighted with arrivals of grandchildren and very proud of the lives her children led.”

“Remembering Jan with sadness and disbelief. We were colleagues for over 20 years and Jan was always kind, caring, gracious and committed. It was a privilege and a pleasure to have worked with her.”

“I had the pleasure of working with Jan for many years at Brooklands. I’m so sad to hear she is gone. She was a lovely lady, who always smiled. What a tragic loss.”

“Jan was an amazing person who I learnt a lot from. It was a privilege to have known her.”

“Like so many other people from Leighton Buzzard, especially those with an association with Brooklands School, we have so many treasured memories of Jan. She was everything you could want in a friend.”

“Jan was one of the nicest ladies I have ever had the pleasure to know. Her kindness showed no bounds, always ready with a smile, a word of encouragement and a willing ear to listen. Our time together will be happy memories I will treasure forever of a very dear friend. She was simply the best and loved by all who knew her.”

“Jan and Andy loved travelling the world together, and were just as happy walking along the coast, breathing in the sea air and enjoying the views. They planned to have many more adventures with their family in the home they had just started building in Weymouth.

“Jan passed away on Saturday 26th July 2014 after a fatal traffic accident in Weymouth whilst she was crossing a road with her dog Toby, who was also lost in the accident. Andy was with her at the end.

“Jan and Andy would have celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary in September. As well as being a mum to three, she was Nanna to her six adored grandchildren, whom she loved more than we can find words to express.”

Andy said: “Jan was the centre of our world and in a split second, tragically taken from us all. The love that her young grandchildren will now miss out on is a void we can only hope to fill by finding the strength to pull together as a family.

“Her wonderful spirit, love and enthusiasm will be missed every day by everyone who was fortunate enough to know her.”

Jan’s funeral will take place on Thursday, August 14 at 1.30pm at St Paul’s Church, Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth, followed by a cremation. Family and friends are welcome to the service and cremation, as well as to the wake which will be held after the committal.

The family has requested family flowers only and for donations to be split between Cancer Research and the RSPCA, Jan’s favourite charities. Cheques can be made payable to ‘Cotton and son donations account’. Those attending the funeral are asked to wear some colour “to fit in with Jan’s own vibrancy of spirit”.