A young woman who is bringing up her five siblings following the tragic death of their mum has thanked the people of Hartlepool for their generosity in their hour of need.
Much-loved mother of six Shelley Ann Ellis, 39, died in Hartlepool’s Alice House Hospice on January 25 around a week after an unexpected illness.
Her eldest daughter Shannon Ellis, 22, a mum to two small children herself, promised her mum she would bring up brother Blaine, six, and sisters Mia, Neve, Bracken and Keevie, who are aged between nine and 15.
Shannon says she does not know what they would have done without the support of friends, family and even strangers who have rallied round to help.
In particular, she wishes to thank everyone who gave to an online fund started by Hartlepool’s Miles for Men and Walk for Women charity.
It raised over £3,000 to pay for Shelley’s funeral, lifting a huge burden from Shannon’s shoulders.
She said: “I would like to thank Miles for Men and Alice House Hospice.
“Every single person who has donated, I can’t thank them enough. I was overwhelmed.
“It was that quick it was the last thing on my mind.
“It has been a massive help. I don’t know what we would all have done without everybody’s generosity.”
Shannon has also been supported by Shelley’s close friends including Gemma Malham, Andrea Biddle and Emma Killingsworth.
Shannon said: “They are all just helping with all the kids, I couldn’t ask for any more.”
A night in aid of the family is being organised at Owton Manor Social Club on Saturday, March 10, by Shelley’s friends Andrea and Jodie Robson.
It starts at 7pm and tickets are £3 while under 10s get in free.
Shannon also praised the strength of the children after such a devastating loss.
She said: “They are coping really well, I’m really proud.
“They are just really good kids. We have been talking about her all the time and constantly getting photos out.”
Shannon was very close to Shelley and described her as a joker, kind hearted, caring, funny, beautiful, and loyal.
Shannon, mum to Harrison, aged two, and one-year-old Rowan, said her promise to Shelley in hospital to take care of her siblings gave Shelley comfort and peace of mind.
Shannon said: “She was worried about it and I told her I would look after them.
“It has been hard but it has given me more of a reason to get up and get on with every day normal life.
“I can’t thank my partner Kieren enough either for his support.”
Shelley was visited by family and friends she had not seen for years before she passed away in the hospice.
Shannon added: “She was scared of being left alone but she never was. Everybody came and saw her, people who hadn’t seen her for 10 years came.
“Her friend Sarah Langley stayed with her.”
Stranton Grange Crematorium was packed for a thanksgiving service to Shelley when her children all wore bright coloured T-shirts with her picture on and all the girls wore tutu skirts.
Shannon said: “She always said she never wanted anyone in dark colours and wanted us to wear tutus.
“We would always laugh, because she had me when she was young we thought I would be an old woman when she died and I’d say ‘I can’t wear a tutu’.
“When she didn’t have long left I asked her again if she still wanted us to be in luminous colours and she said yes.
“She would have been so pleased with how many people were there.”