Tribute paid to swimming pool girl

FAMILY and friends of a girl who died at a swimming pool tragedy have paid tribute to her.

FAMILY and friends of a girl who died at a swimming pool tragedy have paid tribute to her.

Michelle Gellard, seven, died in hospital after being found unconscious at the Blackwater Leisure Centre in Maldon.

Her parents Mark Gellard, an Asda worker, and housewife Sian Lakey, who live in a flat in the Isle of Dogs, east London, have paid tribute to the little girl they called their princess who died on Saturday afternoon.

In a statement the family said: "The mother, father, two brothers and sister of Michelle would like to tell everyone how wonderful and precious she was.

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“Michelle was born and bred in the East End of London and was extremely well liked by everyone she came into contact with.

“Michelle's mum described her as a cheeky little madam with attitude who could make anyone laugh but was also a loving, helpful and confident little girl."

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Michelle loved Judo and had been a member of the Dockland Dragons Judo club for about twelve months.

Her mum, Sian, said: "She was always dreaming up ideas for ways to raise money for the club so I would like to say that if people are thinking about making donations of any kind I know Michelle would have wanted them to go to the club."

On the day she died Michelle had been competing in an organized Judo tournament in Maldon, Essex and had won a silver medal for her efforts.

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