"Amazing" response to appeal in memory of Cheltenham schoolgirl Abi Owen
GRIEVING parents of Cheltenham schoolgirl Abi Owen say they have been overwhelmed by the level of support, after charity donations in her memory topped £5,000.
Kelly and Mark Owen, from Bishop's Cleeve, set up a Justgiving site to raise money for Bristol Children's Hospital after the 12-year-old died there on Sunday.
The Cleeve School pupil had suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage four days earlier but until that point had showed no signs of ill-health – making her death harder to comprehend.
Within hours of the site going live, donations from family and friends reached the target of £1,000.
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Since then, cash pledges have continued to flood in – including many from strangers who were touched by Abi's sad story.
As the Echo went to print last night the total raised stood at £5,253.
Kelly, 36, said Abi's family, including dad Mark and siblings Jennifer, 10, and Joe, five, had been moved by the incredible response.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I only started the page up on Monday afternoon and it has just taken off.
"To start with we had donations from family and friends. But now we are getting anonymous donations from people who didn't even know Abi.
"It has really moved us to think people have been so touched by her story.
"To think all that money will be raised in Abi's memory is just amazing."
Cash raised by the page will go to the Wallace and Gromit Appeal, which will fund state-of- the-art equipment in the intensive care unit at Bristol Children's Hospital.
Kelly added: "The staff did a fantastic job and although they couldn't save her, supporting them in this way will help other children in her situation to be saved in future." More than 250 donors have visited the website, with many posting heartfelt tributes to Abi. A Facebook page set up in her memory has also received more than 500 likes.
Details of her funeral have now been confirmed.
It will take place at St Michael's and All Angels Church, in Bishop's Cleeve on February 27, starting at 12.45pm. Anyone who knew her or wants to support the family is welcome.
Attendees are asked to wear bright colours. There will be family flowers only.
To donate to the appeal in Abi's memory go to www.justgiving.com/kelly-owen. Donations can also go through Alexander Burn funeral directors in Bishop's Cleeve.