Father's tribute to brave daughter

A FATHER has paid tribute to his daughter who has died suddenly and always refused to be beaten by her diabetes.Donna Keeley, 39, was with her horse, Megan, at its stables in Somersham when she collapsed and died after suffering a brain haemorrhage on February 20.

A FATHER has paid tribute to his daughter who has died suddenly and always refused to be beaten by her diabetes.

Donna Keeley, 39, was with her horse, Megan, at its stables in Somersham when she collapsed and died after suffering a brain haemorrhage on February 20.

Miss Keeley, of Britannia Road, Ipswich, had been on a waiting list for the past three years for a new kidney and pancreas and was on regular dialysis. She was also partially sighted as a result of her diabetes, which she developed as a young child. In accordance with her wishes, her heart, liver and lungs were donated to help save other people's lives.

Her father, Ian Chatten, of Framlingham, paid tribute to his "brave" daughter, who suffered the devastating effects of her diabetes without complaint.


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"She was very clever and she finished her degree. Her diabetes deteriorated so she was unable to continue with her plans," he explained.

"Her sight deteriorated as did her kidneys."

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He described how she would write using special equipment to magnify what she typed. A novel is with a publisher, and the family now hope it will make it into print as a tribute to her life.

"It's massive. I think it took her over a year to write," explained Mr Chatten. "I have read parts of it – it's very good, very strong."

Her problems did not prevent her from leading a very active life, and "everybody loved her to bits", he said.

She enjoyed judo, keep fit and night-clubbing, as well as horse-riding.

"She did everything she wanted to do. She was ever so determined, ever so headstrong," said Mr Chatten.

Miss Keeley died suddenly on Friday, February 20, doing what she loved.

"She had just saddled up and they were then going out. She died quickly. She just said she felt woozy and then collapsed," he said.

"She was a gorgeous girl, full of life. She never, ever moaned or mentioned anything about her problems. She was a very, very brave girl. She lived with that all those years."

Despite her condition, she refused to give up her independence, and was determined to live life to the full.

A former pupil at Thomas Mills High School, Framlingham, she gained a degree in law from the University of East Anglia but was unable to pursue a career as her condition worsened.

However, she began writing short stories and had written a long novel, which is currently with publishers, before her untimely death.

Miss Keeley had an active social life and was very fond of animals. As well as her horse, she also kept a basset hound called George and eight cats.

Born in Knodishall, she was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of six.

Miss Keeley was also a member of the Cedars Spiritual Church, Ipswich. Her funeral takes place there on Monday, March 1, at 10.30am, and she will be buried at the Green Burial Site, Farnham, near Saxmundham.

She leaves her parents, Ian and Linda, and brothers and sister, Gary, Mike and Sharon.

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