The family of a well-known Sudbury woman found close to her home have said her death has “left a hole” in their lives.
Shirley Cassman, from Melford Road, was found in water near a bridge in Brundon Lane on Thursday. The 68-year-old was discovered during a police search at around 11.30am. Although an air ambulance was called, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mrs Cassman’s only son, Jason Watt, who had travelled to the area from his home in Wiltshire to help look for her, said his mother was a selfless woman with a caring nature.
“There is a hole in our lives without her,” said Mr Watt, who has a seven-year-old son, Cedar, with his wife Pearl.
“I will miss her deeply for the rest of my days. My best qualities came from her.”
The 47-year-old photographer said his mother had lived in Sudbury for 11 years and had worked at the RSCPA charity shop in Borehamgate Precinct until recently.
“She was very well-known through her work there and she was a sharing and loving person,” said Mr Watt.
“She loved Sudbury and the water meadows and made some good friends in the area walking her dog Maisie.”
Mrs Cassman had been missing for more than two days when her body was discovered. She had last been seen at around 9am last Tuesday at West Suffolk Hospital.
Police have said her death is being treated as “unexplained” but there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.
Mr Watt said his mother, who worked in the children’s ward at Hammersmith Hospital in London and later as a care officer, had suffered with depression and deep anxiety.
“She was always exemplary in caring for others and would often sacrifice herself for the needs of others,” he said.
“We are a very close family and she would travel to see us regularly.”
Mr Watt added that his mother, whose sister Valerie Rozier lives in Stoke-by-Clare, had spent time in hospital receiving treatment for her illness over the summer.
“She was discharged into my care in August and had been getting better so she decided to go home,” he said.
“Unfortunately, she went down hill again.”
Gemma McCarthy, manager at the Sudbury RSPCA shop, said Mrs Cassman was a “lovely” woman.
“She volunteered right from when we first opened earlier this year,” she said.
“Everyone loved her and she liked being on the till serving the customers. It is very sad and she will be missed.”