Give your children extra hug, grieving dad urges mourners

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The father of the young Dromore schoolgirl who died suddenly last week after becoming unwell at school has urged parents, grandparents and children to share an extra hug at night.

Isobel Anderson (10) had taken unwell at Dromore Central Primary School, where she was a P7 pupil, last Tuesday (19 September) afternoon.

She passed away in hospital the following day, despite a rapid response by teachers and medical staff.

Isobel, a child of Tom and Heidi Anderson, was laid to rest on Sunday (24 September) following a funeral service at Dromore Cathedral.

During the service, her father Tom paid a moving tribute to his eldest daughter.

He told the hundreds of mourners who had gathered to say goodbye to Isobel that she was full of "fun, mischief and love".

He described Isobel as "a mother hen" to her three younger sisters Mary, Tess and Kate, and a great help to her mum Heidi.

Before the service began projected pictures and videos showed a happy and active child smiling with her friends, horse riding and doing cartwheels on a beach.

Mr Anderson paid tribute to everyone who tried to save his firstborn.

"I want to single out our extreme gratitude to the staff that worked with wee Isobel in the playground that awful afternoon, the paramedics who came and got her as quickly as they could, and the doctors and nurses at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

"That care from the start and the remarkable fight that my wee Isobel put up gave us an opportunity which I am so grateful for, the opportunity to say goodbye to Isobel." Mr Anderson said his daughter brought joy to the family from the very start.

"Those big sparkling eyes stood out straight away," he said.

"They were full of fun, mischief and love.

"She had a smile that could light up a room on the darkest of days, and she's lighting up Dromore this afternoon." Mr Anderson said that he learned that due to his daughter's caring manner, her teachers had selected her as a natural choice to welcome new pupils to the school, and she was a "strong contender" to be head girl.

Mr Anderson had also asked Isobel's closest friends to write down a few words.

"Heidi and I sat in the kitchen and read each one out, it was fantastic. That day I never thought that I'd be able to smile or laugh again, but we did - we found great comfort in that.

"We learned things about Isobel that we never knew." Concluding, Mr Anderson urged parents, grandparents and children to share an extra hug at night, and told the young pupils who were present to "live life to the full".

"Isobel, we will always love you, in the words of your sisters Mary, Tess and Kate: 'Our home doesn't have six people anymore daddy, it is five people and one angel'. Sleep tight my angel." Rev Geoff Wilson, who led the service, said that Isobel had been known as "a tender-hearted girl", while her Brownie leader described her as "a lovely, gentle and unassuming child who embraced Guiding with energy and enthusiasm".

Principal Linda Allen said that the whole school community of Dromore Central PS had "experienced profound sadness at the sudden death of Isobel Anderson".

"Isobel's wide circle of friends and classmates are heartbroken by her untimely loss and are being supported at this time by staff and relevant professionals.

"Isobel was a quiet but very popular pupil who always had a smile on her face and was recently described by her class teacher as a 'breath of fresh air'.

"She was a kind, caring and gentle child, who will be very much missed in school by fellow pupils and staff alike. She will be remembered with great love." Donations in lieu, if desired, are being sent to Children's Cardiac Services and Dromore Central Primary School Funds, through Norman McBriar & Son, Funeral Directors, Saintfield.



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