‘She would be proud of us’ – Family of Kerry Thorpe pay tribute one year after her tragic death and discuss growing success of Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust

Photo: Josh Nelli.

Photo: Josh Nelli. - Credit: Archant

One year after her tragic death, Kerry Thorpe continues to inspire.

Josh Nelli and his niece Maisie Nelli. Photo: Josh Nelli

Josh Nelli and his niece Maisie Nelli. Photo: Josh Nelli - Credit: Archant

The Kesgrave youngster bravely battled cystic fibrosis, raising awareness of the condition and the desperate need for people to sign the organ donation register, before sadly passing away on March 21 last year.

Her family and friends marked the poignant one-year anniversary on Saturday – just a few days after redecorating her grave on what would have been her 24th birthday.

Josh Nelli, her loving fiancée, said: “It’s been a rollercoaster of all sorts of emotions. We have all had our time to grieve and it has been very sad at times.

“It was her birthday last Tuesday and it was very much a time for remembering. We put flowers, cards and balloons on her grave. It was lovely with the sun shining and it looked really beautiful.”

Josh Nelli and Kerry Thorpe.

Josh Nelli and Kerry Thorpe. - Credit: Archant

Over the last year, Josh, family, friends and an army of supporters have strived to maintain Kerry’s legacy lives on.

They established the Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust last summer and quickly gained charity status after a “mind-blowing” fundraising response from the community.

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Josh said: “The Trust was set-up to continue Kerry’s good work and raise awareness of cystic fibrosis and signing the organ donor register, but people wanted to donate money and we then started grant-wish days for children with cystic fibrosis.

“We also give birthday gifts to children with cystic fibrosis in Suffolk and are just going from strength to strength with everyone’s support.

Photo: Josh Nelli.

Photo: Josh Nelli. - Credit: Archant

“We have got a quiz night in May, our annual golf day in August, my dad and I are doing the London to Paris bike ride in September. Only last Thursday an anonymous Ipswich business donated almost £4,500. They said Kerry’s story had touched them and that she was inspirational.

“There has been so much support for the Trust and we can’t thank everyone enough. Kerry would be proud of us.”

In her short life, Kerry’s fighting spirit shone through and she became an ambassador for Live Life Then Give Life.

She was added to the list for a double lung transplant two years ago, but her call never came. Kerry died from end stage cystic fibrosis at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.

Kerry’s mum Jacqui Brett said: “It’s just been an incredibly hard, emotional year without hearing her laugh and I miss her intellect as she was someone you could always have a good debate with. I really feel that loss.

“But I’m also glad she’s no longer suffering or in pain and I look back with great pride at her courage and bravery. We all miss her terribly.”

Josh added: “We want the Trust to be a professional outfit and do Kerry’s memory justice.

“We are perhaps taking our time but we didn’t want it to be a flash-in-the-pan charity where we blew all the money and overstretch ourselves.

“We want it to be here for the long run. We want it to grow and grow – and it is. The last year has been incredibly. We have raised just over £21,000 in the last year. It is crazy.”

If you know a cystic fibrosis sufferer aged 9-16 who is treated at Ipswich Hospital, contact the Trust via its website at www.kerryalexthorpetrust.org.uk.