Little girls dies on Christmas Day

A ROOM of unopened Christmas presents is the sombre reminder today of a Christmas that should have been filled with joy.It is the scene for a tragic Ipswich couple who are today struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of their 13-year-old daughter.

A ROOM of unopened Christmas presents is the sombre reminder today of a Christmas that should have been filled with joy.

It is the scene for a tragic Ipswich couple who are today struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of their 13-year-old daughter.

Marie Mutimer fell ill on Christmas Eve and despite doctors desperate attempts to save her she passed away on Christmas Day.

Today her parents Janice and John have paid tribute to their miracle child who was born to her parents after eight miscarriages.

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Mrs Mutimer, of Chatsworth Crescent, said: "Everyone regarded Marie as our miracle child because we had endured the miscarriages before her unexpected arrival.

"She actually was quite a surprise baby.

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"We had given up and I had lost another baby a few months earlier.

"I was 11 weeks further pregnant than I thought when she came three weeks early. It was wonderful.

"I was thunderstruck when she was born.

"She just laid there quietly looking at us and her fingers.

"She had a lot of black hair with two grey streaks - my daughter was always different and special."

For Marie life was not always easy.

She had problems with co-ordination, a tremor in her hand and dyslexia.

When she was three she caught a flu bug which attacked one side of her heart and damaged a valve.

Despite this she remained a relatively healthy child, visiting hospital for routine checks on her heart but offering little concern for doctors or her parents.

Marie struggled to compete in sport because of her condition but it had little other affect on her life and, though her parents believed she may need an operation later in life, the events of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day came as a huge shock.

Mrs Mutimer added: "On Christmas Eve Marie was helping to prepare vegetables for Christmas dinner when she suddenly felt dizzy.

"She went to the hospital for an ECG and her heart was racing."

"We took her to hospital because of her heart.

"If it had been anyone else we wouldn't have bothered.

"I wasn't really worried, I was just concerned until we got to the hospital. I got worried when the consultant said we have got a very, very ill little girl here - then I got scared," Mr Mutimer added.

Marie remained awake throughout the ordeal until doctors administered anaesthetic so they could shock her heart.

They attempted to resuscitate Marie for 45 minutes but she eventually died at 4.30am on Christmas Day.

Doctors are still unsure what caused Marie's heart to race so erratically but believe it could have been caused by a faulty valve or an electrical impulse.

Her mum said: "She was an only child. We are devastated and there is no future left."

"A few hours earlier she had been singing carols in the shower and had been up to the Co-op to buy bits and pieces," her dad added.

Janice said: "She had been in her room and put all of her presents in piles. "She had bought a lot of presents because this was the first year she had had her own money to buy presents - she was overdoing it but for Marie nothing was too much.

"We were planning a nice family Christmas with her grandparents and great aunts. She had got all her presents wrapped.

"We have opened ours because it is what she would have wanted but hers are sitting under the tree unopened."

Marie's death is the second to rock the communities of Stoke Park and Maidenhall this month.

Three weeks earlier Marie's friend Shona Gill lost her long battle with cancer and just days before her own sudden death Marie had laid flowers at Shona's garden at Halifax school.

The two girls had got to know each other through the youth group at Stoke Green Baptist Church and Marie's funeral will take place at that church just as Shona's did.

Marie was very involved at Stoke Green and was one of only two children in England to complete her red award in Covies (a young people's church group where she helped younger children with craft activities).

Mrs Mutimer added: "She liked to go to clubs and everything but was more relaxed at home and church was the one place she could be herself and she was accepted there.

"She really was better with adults than with children.

"She was enthusiastic and committed and Stable Manners (a Christmas play at Stoke Green Baptist Church) was terribly important to her and she went to every rehearsal."

It was with the same enthusiasm and commitment that she cared for members of her family and her beloved dog Max who her parents said was like a brother to Marie.

Mrs Mutimer added: "She cared for everyone even if they didn't want her to.

"My mum says Marie looked after her like a mother. She looked after her nannies and granddads.

"She organised me and when I had my handbag stolen, I had to replace everything and I couldn't quite make decisions so she took me in hand."

John added: "She was very, very mature for her age.

"Age wise she was thinking more like a 16 or 17-year-old or older.

"If Janice was late home she would call her on her mobile."

"She was always an old person and when she was three I started a part time job and she was going to do it as well. She tried to come to work with me.

"I always wanted a porch and she said if I got the concrete and bricks she would build it.

"If we did things she would think she could do them too," Janice added.

Marie's enthusiasm shone through in many other clubs and activities.

She was a Brownie and a Guide had recently taken up the clarinet.

She also competed in several dog shows with her lurcher Max and took part in life saving classes in the hope she would one day become a life guard.

Her mum said she was unsure whether Marie would be fit enough to pursue the career but that she also hoped to me a life guard teacher.

Marie's funeral service will take place on Monday, January 10 at Stoke Green Baptist Church, followed my her cremation at Ipswich Cremetorium.

If you would like to pay tribute to Marie write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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