Teenager who died after epileptic seizure is mourned at funeral
A TEENAGER who died just days before her 18th birthday will be remembered for being a ‘lovely girl’ with a ‘smiling nature’.
Dozens of mourners gathered at St Giles’ Church, in Newcastle, yesterday, to say a final farewell to Gemma Ray.
Gemma, from Newcastle, pictured below aged 16, was almost 19 weeks pregnant with her first child when she suffered an epileptic seizure and died in her sleep on November 2.
She had been diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 14 and had been taking medication, but had not had a seizure since May.
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Leading the funeral, Reverend Steven Lee described the service as a ‘tragic occasion’.
He said: “This is a service that nobody wants to be at.
“It’s a tragic occasion not just for the loss of Gemma, but also because she was 19 weeks pregnant with her child, Daniel.
“At times like these, words seem rather empty and even the thoughts and words we are feeling fail us.”
Gemma’s pregnancy was going well and doctors were not expecting any complications because of her epilepsy.
Gemma, who was on a hospitality course at the DeVere Academy at Wychwood Park, near Crewe, was found dead by her family when she failed to get up in the morning.
Reverend Lee said: “Gemma had so much to look forward to in her life, turning 18 and becoming a mother.
“Her 18 years were full of happy and treasured memories for those who knew her.
“Her family are so thankful for the times they had together, including the recent holiday to Turkey where Gemma just about overcame her fear of flying to go on it.
“She was a lovely girl who had a smiling nature and was kind and caring. She would drop anything to help a friend in need and provide support and comfort.
“The last words Gemma heard were her mother saying: ‘Goodnight, I love you’ to her.”
Among the family Gemma leaves behind are her mother Louise Ray, father Darren, brother Robert, aged 13, sister Beth, aged 16 and boyfriend Jamie Sharman.
The hymns The Lord Is My Shepherd and Jesus Loves Me This I Know were sung at the service, and a poem called Missing My Sister was read out.
Gemma’s coffin was taken out of the church to Heaven From Here by Robbie Williams and she was buried at Newcastle Cemetery.
Donations were taken for the Epilepsy Society and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.