Gifted dancer, 12, loses leukaemia fight

A GIFTED schoolgirl who dreamed of turning her "sparkling" talent for dancing into a successful career has died only weeks after she was diagnosed with leukaemia.

A GIFTED schoolgirl who dreamed of turning her "sparkling" talent for dancing into a successful career has died only weeks after she was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Grieving family, friends and teachers of 12-year-old Tamzin Overton, who died on Saturday after she suffered complications during her cancer treatment, paid emotional tributes to the brave Suffolk youngster.

Her devastated mother Gill Overton said Tamzin lived for dancing and attended classes three times a week.

She said: "Tamzin was full of life, she loved people and she was very loved. She showed an awful lot of courage and strength in her illness.

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"She was a very strong-minded girl and that's what kept her going. She was just a normal 12-year-old girl.

"She lived to dance – it's all she ever did. She was very talented and won a lot of competitions and I think she would have liked to take her dancing further.

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"She had a lot of dancing friends, they were just like one big family. She was very popular and she touched an awful lot of people."

Tamzin was diagnosed with leukaemia in July and Mrs Overton said: "The treatment was going well but she developed a sudden and unforeseen complication.

"It all happened very quickly. Tamzin had no bruising or lumps – she just had aching legs."

Mrs Overton also praised staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, who looked after Tamzin before she was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, the unit where she died.

She said: "The staff at the hospital couldn't have done any more, their dedication was amazing and the nurses were absolutely brilliant."

The family have asked for any donations to be made payable to the paediatric intensive care unit at Addenbrooke's or Cancer and Leukaemia In Childhood (CLIC), a charity supported by the EADT.

Speaking from her home in Holywell Row, near Mildenhall, Mrs Overton said Tamzin's popularity among her dancing colleagues would be shown at her funeral on Wednesday where a 12-year-old friend is expected to make a poignant speech about the tragic youngster.

Tamzin was a student at Attitude Dancer's School, Thetford, where fellow youngsters were still coming to terms with their loss, according to principal Mandie Rogers.

She said: "The students are finding it very hard as they were so close to her for so many years.

"Losing a friend doesn't happen to too many children and they now need to stick together and get through it together.

"She was an incredible little dancer and I am sure she would have gone on to dance school.

"When Tamzin was in hospital, all her dance friends made a video and scrapbooks for her – she was just a lovely and popular girl.

"Dancing was everything to her. I knew Tamzin for about eight years and right from an early age she showed a lot of promise."

Tamzin won countless medals in festivals across East Anglia specialising in modern, tap and character ballet.

A pupil at Riverside Middle School, Mildenhall, Tamzin leaves behind 14-year brother Joseph and father Shaun.

Jill Harrison, headteacher at Riverside, said: "Tamzin was a very happy and cheerful girl who always referred to herself as a 'groovy chick'.

"She had a strong personality which showed in her courage and bravery. She was full of spirit and very popular with many friends who are deeply affected by their loss.

"She was a very talented dancer who sparkled when she performed. She will be greatly missed."

A non-uniform day, held at the school yesterdayin Tamzin's honour, raised more than £250 for the Leukaemia Research Appeal.

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