The grieving parents of a ‘beautiful and popular’ Sheffield schoolgirl have spoken of their heartbreak over their daughter’s tragic death from a suspected asthma attack.
Sixteen-year-old Ellie Leigh Taylor-Ward, from Richmond, was rushed to hospital when she began gasping for breath and fell unconscious during a visit to her boyfriend’s house.
Doctors at the Northern General Hospital battled to save the teenager’s life, but their efforts were in vain - and Ellie’s parents Lisa and Steve faced the devastating news their child had died.
Speaking at their home on Wainwright Crescent, Lisa and Steve said Ellie’s death was ‘something no parent ever imagines’ – but they ‘have to carry on’ for the sake of their son Luke, aged 14.
The couple said the incident had shocked Ellie’s pals at City School in Stradbroke, where she was a Year 11 student.
In a moving tribute, Ellie’s funeral procession – with her coffin surrounded by white roses spelling out her name – passed the school, where hundreds of pupils had gathered outside to pay their last respects.
Lisa, 43, said she and Steve were baffled over Ellie’s sudden death, saying: “People with asthmatic children know the warning signs and know what to look for. Ellie was fine that day, she had no problems with her breathing.
“There’s nothing anyone could have done.”
Ellie was diagnosed with asthma as a toddler and suffered from several allergies as well as severe eczema, which once worsened so much she was put into isolation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Steve, 42, a supervisor for an electricals firm, said: “She had good days and bad days. She used an inhaler. Her asthma had been really well-controlled.”
Lisa said Ellie was a ‘model pupil’ at school, where she particularly enjoyed French, physics and chemistry, and hoped to follow a career in medicine.
Lisa said: “She was a very intelligent, beautiful, popular girl.
“She loved music, TV, the cinema, shopping, and always put her friends first.”
Ellie had been out shopping with her mum on the morning before her death, then went to visit boyfriend Bradley Haythorne, 18, at about 1pm.
Steve said: “Just before 5pm, Bradley phoned, saying she was having an asthma attack. I jumped in the car and went around, he only lives about 10 minutes away. Bradley was in his bedroom and Ellie was on the bed. She was unresponsive and blue. I was panicking, but I did CPR until the paramedics turned up.
“Bradley said his mum was putting their tea out and they had got two cans of pop in the bedroom which Ellie went to fetch. When she didn’t come down he went looking for her – that’s when he found her.”
The family endured an agonising wait at the hospital as medics struggled to resuscitate Ellie.
Lisa said: “We knew she had gone.
“It was just devastating, so heartbreaking. We were allowed to go in to see her. We stroked her hair, held her hands and gave her a kiss. We told her we loved her.”
The funeral took place at Christ Church, Heeley, followed by burial at Intake Village Cemetery. Her favourite songs were played, Steve and Bradley read poems and friends prepared a special eulogy.
Even Ellie’s favourite boyband The Wanted offered condolences by sending flowers.
Lisa said: “We have to carry on for Luke, as he’s in the middle of exams as well.”
“Ellie’s death was so sudden. I just know she didn’t suffer.”
A coroner’s investigation is under way into the tragedy on October 19, and test results are being awaited before a decision is made as to whether an inquest is required.