Tributes to girl, 11, struck down by meningitis

HEART-rending tributes have been paid to a caring 11-year-old Suffolk girl after meningitis claimed her life.

Colin Adwent

HEART-rending tributes have been paid to a caring 11-year-old Suffolk girl after meningitis claimed her life.

The village of Great Cornard is mourning the sudden death of Connie Marie Denton after she died Saturday. She had only been taken ill 48 hours earlier.

Connie's parents, Glen and Gillian, led the tributes to their daughter, who died at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.

In a statement they said: "Our Connie was a loving, caring, kind and thoughtful girl, who always had a hug for everyone.

“She always wanted to help people, and was always first to volunteer. She had a desire to learn and was always asking questions. She could chat the hind legs off a donkey and had a brilliant sense of humour.

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“She had endless enthusiasm and loved being outdoors. Always the peacemaker, she hated conflict and was much older than her eleven years. She brought a ray of sunshine to everyone's day.

“She made us such proud parents and we are so lucky to have had her in our lives, even for a very short time. She will always be in our hearts, our darling daughter. Sweet dreams, Connie.

“All our love and kisses and a massive hug, Mummy, Daddy and little Jack.”

The vicar of Great Cornard, the Reverend Jamie Allen, also paid his own tribute.

Rev Allen said: "Connie was an exceptional person - lovely, gentle and instantly loveable. I feel honoured to have known her.

“As news of her sudden illness has spread through the community, many, many people have expressed shock, grief and tears that this has happened.

“Our prayers and our thoughts are with Connie's Mum and Dad, and her little brother Jack at this devastating time.

“To enable people the opportunity to express their grief, St Andrew's Church, Great Cornard, will be open all day, every day for the next two weeks. People are invited to light a candle, and to spend some time in quiet. Please also pray for Connie's family and friends in their bereavement."

At the church, a special Memory Book has been set up and everyone is invited to write their own message in memory of Connie in this book, or to draw a picture, or simply to write words of comfort.

Connie was a Year Six pupil at Great Cornard Middle School.

The Public Health Authority has declared that there is no risk to other pupils and that there is no need for any public health intervention.

Judith Fardell, interim headteacher of Great Cornard Middle School, said: "Connie was a delight to work with in school. She always wore a warm, sunny smile and was kind caring and so loving towards her friends and children who needed help.

“She had a zest for learning, with enthusiasm brimming over. She will be very sadly missed from GCMS. Our hearts go out to her lovely family and friends."

Connie's family have asked that any donations in her memory be made to The Suffolk Young Carers, because of the work she did with them.

Donations are being collected by, and can be made payable to, St Andrew's Church, The Vicarage, 95 Bures Road, Great Cornard, Sudbury, CO10 0JE.