Great Cornard: Memorial service takes place for Carrie Allen

THERE was standing room only as a community came together to celebrate the life of a little girl who died after a three-and-a-half year battle with cancer.

Family and friends, all dressed in pink, packed into St Andrew’s Church in Great Cornard to celebrate the life of Carrie Allen.

The emotional memorial service, in the church where her father Jamie had been reverend before the family moved to New Zealand in 2010, took place just hours after the 12-year-old had been laid to rest in New Plymouth.

Standing in front of a congregation, which included the youngster’s “bestest and loveliest” classmates at Wells Hall Primary School, Carrie’s grandfather Roy Allen read a statement from the family in New Zealand.

Carrie’s father, Mr Allen, who featured in the BBC documentary series, A Country Parish, described his daughter as an “absolute delight” who was “bright, with a cheeky smile and very shy.”

Carrie was diagnosed with rhabomyosarcoma in her left forearm in 2009 and underwent a gruelling course of chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.

Although she was given the all clear shortly after making the move to New Zealand, she relapsed last year and died last Saturday.

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Mr Allen, who said that he had watched Carrie “little by little” summon up the courage to face cancer, added that his brave daughter had always got on with her life.

Carrie’s mother Suzy said her daughter “knew her own mind and liked to be a leader but could also be inside a bundle of worries.”

She added: “We just want to celebrate that Carries was such a cuddly girl. Nearly always she would sit on my or Jamie’s lap when possible.”

She added: “May she rest peacefully under the watchful care of angels.”

Describing her daughter’s love of ballet and recent joy at doing the splits, she said Carrie had been a “wonderful sister” to Danii, 16, Katy, 10 and Roxy, five.

The church, which had projections of a smiling Carrie projected onto the far wall, fell silent as Mr Allen continued to read words prepared by his granddaughter’s siblings, including little Roxy

The five-year-old described how she would miss her brave sister who “helped me draw hearts and did my nails pretty colours.”

At the end of the service, which was led by Rev Chris Ramsey, the congregation were invited to light a candle for Carrie.