Family and friends of a special nine-year-old girl who died suddenly have raised over £25,000 for a foundation set up in her memory.
Emily Hood, a pupil at St Peter’s school in Heysham, passed away unexpectedly in October 2012 due to a rare congenital bowel abnormality.
Emily enjoyed dancing and performing and was a talented young girl.
Her parents Andrew and Vicki were devastated by their loss and set up Emily’s Starlite in her memory.
With the help of family and friends they have raised a staggering amount in excess of £25,000.
Andrew and Vicki said: “When we lost Emily our world literally stopped turning.
“The fund has helped to provide us with a positive focus.
“We are so proud of her and that she has inspired so much money to be raised for good causes in her memory.
“We want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us so brilliantly and helped us to raise this money for Emily’s Starlite.
“We’ve received some fantastic support.
“We have been so impressed by the kindness of everyone who has given up their time and energy to organise, take part in, and donate sponsorship to so many different events.”
In February 2013 Julie Wright organised a two hour sponsored swim at Heysham High School Pool.
Nearly a thousand people have bought Emily’s Starlite wristbands which Julie also had made.
In March 2013 Julie also organised a successful combined fundraising dinner for Alzheimer’s and Emily’s Starlite.
In April 2013 a mass sponsored Zumbathon was organised by Alison Bland and held at Emily’s school St Peters in Heysham, where over 30 of her friends danced none stop for two hours.
There have been a number of sponsored long distance cycle rides, including Emily’s friend and classmate Connie Longden.
John Statter and friend Mick completed the gruelling Fred Whitton Challenge course. In June 2013 Andrew along with friends Stuart Kitching, Dave Parker and Dave McPartlin (also Emily’s head teacher) completed the Way of the Roses – 170 miles Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge from Morecambe to Bridlington over just two days.
Separate coast to coast rides were also completed by Malcolm Turner and Rob Kitchin.
Several long distance sponsored runs, including a marathon by Michael Knight and also the Junior Great North Run completed by Emily’s friend and fellow dancer Morgan Bower.
In June 2013 St Peters School organised an Emily Day and decorated the school buildings with beautiful pink and purple decorations made by the children, who also enjoyed a Who’s Got Talent Contest and beach party.
This was repeated in 2014 in combination with the schools summer barbeque which included a fantastic performance by Lancaster’s Paul Akister from ITV’s The X Factor.
The finale of the night was a spectacular fireworks display.
In September 2013 for Emily’s birthday a party and fundraising auction was held at Morecambe FC’s Globe Arena.
£8,500 was raised in this one very successful evening.
The proceeds of Emily’s Starlite were distributed in full in the early part of this year 2014. The fund has donated money to Emily’s primary school St Peters and to her local dance school LAMATA which has created a wonderful garden in her memory.
The fund also gave significant donations to St Johns Hospice and the St Peters Church Roof Appeal.
Finally the Royal Lancaster Infirmary Hospital was given a cheque of £16,500.
Andrew and Vicki said: “It was extremely important to both of us to donate a substantial amount of the money raised by the Starlite Fund specifically for new paediatric emergency equipment for the Emergency Department that tried so hard to save Emily, and hopefully help to save the lives of other children in the future.”
Debbie Dickson, Emergency Paediatric Nurse & Safeguarding Champion at the hospital said: “The Emergency Department staff and patients at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary would like to thank Mr and Mrs Hood and everyone who has helped raise the substantial amount of £16,500 for paediatric emergency equipment.” The money raised from Emily’s Starlite has helped us to buy expensive emergency equipment including, a paediatric ultra sound scan probe, paediatric observation monitoring, emergency auto clock timer for resuscitation, weighing scales, and an examination lamp.” Judith Read, charity co-ordinator for Morecambe Bay Hospitals Charity at Royal Lancaster Infirmary is arranging a plaque for Emily.