Goodbye Princess Keisha - Hartlepool pays tribute in style to a brave 'diamond' who fought leukaemia
Hartlepool has said a final farewell to brave 'princess' Keisha Watson.
The funeral was held today for the 10-year-old ‘star’ who lost her courageous battle with leukaemia last month.
A horse and carriage took her on her last journey and it was accompanied by a cavalcade of motor bike and scooter riders who came from Newcastle, Durham, Peterlee, Billingham and Hartlepool to pay their respects.
The service was held at Stranton Crematorium and was also streamed to a wider audience.
People also lined the streets in a socially distanced tribute before the service which heard that Keisha was a princess who had captured the hearts of the people of Hartlepool. She was loved by everyone who knew her.
There were wreaths and flowers including one which read 'Princess Keisha'. Others represented a princess and a rag doll.
Keisha's mum Natalie Watson, speaking to the Mail earlier this week, said her daughter was 'the bravest little girl I have ever known'. She added: "She was just a star who got on with life. She was amazing."
Natalie praised Hartlepool charity Miles for Men for their support in putting together the tribute to Keisha, including organising the horse and carriage and the cavalcade.
Her remarkable battle led to her becoming a Child of Courage at the Best of Hartlepool Awards in 2016 where she and the other winners received a standing ovation.
Despite her own battles, she always thought of others. In 2019, when she was poorly and needing chemotherapy, she got Christmas gifts for all the other children on the hospital ward at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Keisha was first given a princess day to remember in 2015 with the help of Miles for Men. Back then, there were cakes, balloons with a Frozen theme, a bouncy castle, cupcakes and a horse and carriage.
But when she was going through the photos last year with mum Natalie, Keisha had no memories of the day at all.
Natalie put a post on Facebook to ask if anyone would help to organise a princess day for her daughter’s 10th birthday last year and the social media reaction was stunning.
Hartlepool stepped up to the mark again and Keisha got to enjoy a pamper day, disco and tea party last summer.
The town was just as supportive for Keisha’s final journey today as the horse and carriage took her to Stranton Crematorium where her service was held. It heard that Keisha was a celebrity.
Miles for Men founder Micky Day said Keisha lived her life with a constant smile despite everything she had gone through. He described her as ‘inspirational, unbelievable and amazing.”
He said the organisation of the funeral had been down to the remarkable people of Hartlepool who came together to make sure everything was perfect.
"Once again the community has been brilliant," he said. "I can't thank them enough for what they have done.
"We wanted Keisha’s final journey to be as special as she was.”