Tributes to a special teenager

THE bereaved family of a disabled teenage girl who died after a sudden illness have paid tribute to the youngster.Emma Eaves, who died earlier this month aged 15, was a well-known and much-loved character in her home town of Witham and at the Lexden Springs Special Needs School in Colchester where she was a pupil.

THE bereaved family of a disabled teenage girl who died after a sudden illness have paid tribute to the youngster.

Emma Eaves, who died earlier this month aged 15, was a well-known and much-loved character in her home town of Witham and at the Lexden Springs Special Needs School in Colchester where she was a pupil.

Although she was unable to speak, she enjoyed a full life and regularly went horse-riding and swimming.

She lived in Bevington Mews with her mother, Janet, her father Malcolm and her grandmother Vera.


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Yesterday they spoke of the gap left in their lives after her unexpected death and remembered the plucky teenager as music loving and determined.

"Everybody but everybody has said what a character she was. She was very nosey - a real people watcher.

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"Everybody loved her. She was very clever. We have had 84 cards since she died. She woke up singing every morning," said Mr Eaves.

Emma was born with brain damage and initially doctors thought she would not be able to lead an active life.

But at her school she learned to walk with a frame and also communicate using special charts. She was also able to use a specially adapted computer with a touch-screen interface.

"She loved her music and her videos," Mrs Eaves said. "If she wanted a particular one she would sing a song that was in it.

"She liked all sorts of music from 60s stuff to Abba and Steps," she added.

"It must have been very frustrating for her being trapped in her body. It's unbelievable what she managed to achieve.

"She had a full life. She used to cause mayhem at school. Lots of people will miss her."

Mr Eaves also paid tribute to everybody who had helped her at Lexden Springs.

"We are so grateful to the school and all of the people that helped her. The headteacher and the staff have been fantastic."

Emma was taken into hospital on May 14 after falling ill suddenly while she was away from home having respite care. Although her family was alerted, by the time they arrived at the hospital she was already unconscious.

She was transferred to intensive care where a few days later the Eaves had to take the heart-wrenching decision to turn off her life support machine as she had been pronounced clinically dead.

"We stayed with her and held her hand as she went. We keep reliving it.

"I know it sounds daft, but you can't believe it's happened. We find ourselves thinking she is at school or still in respite," said Mr Eaves. However, I am sure she didn't suffer.

"The hospital and the doctors at Colchester General Hospital were wonderful. They were brilliant. They could not have been any kinder.

"It has been a great shock to us. She was very special."

Mrs Eaves said: "It feels like the whole bottom has fallen out of our life. We looked after her 24 hours a day, virtually. We just don't know what to do now."

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