‘Imogen was our beautiful creative, kind-hearted daughter’; Tributes to schoolgirl after meningitis tragedy

Debbie and Ray Mead with Imogen and her brother Curtis on a family hoilday in France in July
Debbie and Ray Mead with Imogen and her brother Curtis on a family hoilday in France in July
Lewis Hine pictured picking up his Hero of the Year Award at The News Youth Awards in 2016 

Picture: Sarah Standing (160820-1757c) PPP-170623-124129001

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THE devastated family of an 11-year-old girl who died from meningitis have paid tribute to her.

THE devastated family of an 11-year-old girl who died from meningitis have paid tribute to her.

Pictures and tributes to Imogen Mead who died of meningitis aged just 11 r2X4zalBF2dBVE39TEtn

Pictures and tributes to Imogen Mead who died of meningitis aged just 11 r2X4zalBF2dBVE39TEtn

Imogen Mead died just days after being struck down with meningitis.

The talented Portsmouth girl had dreams of opening up her own cake shop and her loved ones say she lived to perform and touch people’s hearts.

Imogen’s family released a statement paying tribute to her.

It said: ‘Imogen was our beautiful creative, kind-hearted daughter.

Member of The Young Creatives Portsmouth release balloons in memory of member Imogen Meads, who died of meningitis aged 11

Member of The Young Creatives Portsmouth release balloons in memory of member Imogen Meads, who died of meningitis aged 11

‘If there was anything to make she would be doing it. Her flare for arts and crafts of all types was incredible.

‘She especially liked baking cakes and independently made birthday cakes for friends and family.

‘She aspired to have her own cake shop when she was older.

‘She loved going to drama and wouldn’t miss it for the world, learning lines and songs for her many performances.

‘Her love of young children and babies was remarkable, she played and cared for all endlessly. She took on a mothering role to her newest baby cousins. We have always been so proud of her and this sudden devastation is a huge blow to us all, leaving us totally heartbroken.’

At the weekend, youngsters who knew Imogen at performing group The Young Creatives Portsmouth sang a poignant version of James Bay’s Hold Back The River and released heart and star-shaped balloons into the sky in her memory at the Chaos Support charity’s annual summer fete in Havant.

Imogen – a pupil at St John’s Cathedral Catholic School – was taken to hospital on Friday, July 29, after developing a temperature.

But her family’s world was turned upside down after they were given the news she had contracted meningitis. She died two days later.

Her grieving drama teacher and family friend Marie Amey, said it has come as a massive shock to everyone.

Ms Amey said: ‘It’s hit us hard. Imogen was just a really lovely, positive girl.

‘She would give me a cuddle every time I saw her and she was the first person to ask if you were okay.

‘She loved to perform. When she joined us, she was quite shy, but in recent times she came out of her shell.

‘At the end of term play she played the role of the female ogre from Shrek.

‘And she loved making cakes. The children were asked where they wanted to be in 20 years time and she said she wanted to have her own cake shop.

‘She made a big cake showing the world on it as part of Shakespeare week. She was just so talented. She will be hugely missed by everyone.’

Fete visitors applauded in Imogen’s memory as balloons were released by performers from The Young Creatives Portsmouth. Imogen was due to sing with the group at the fete.

Janina Raeburn’s daughter, Megan, 11, was a close friend of Imogen.

Mrs Raeburn, of Southsea, said: ‘She was the sweetest, happiest girl you’d ever meet. She was the daughter that everyone would have liked to have.

‘She was never involved in school dramas. She was part of a lovely family. She was also so nice and polite.

‘I’m devastated. I was so shocked at the speed at which everything happened. When we got a text from the family with the news we were just heartbroken.’

Family friend Paul Caldwell has set up a JustGiving fundraising page to help the family pay for funeral arrangements, and within 48 hours of it being set up more than £3,500 had poured in.

Mr Caldwell, of Gosport, said: ‘After the loss of Imogen, I felt that we had to do something. As family, friends and a community, we can do very little to ease the pain of Debbie, Ray and Curtis (Imogen’s mother, father and brother) at this devastating time.

‘However, we can support them by trying to lighten the load financially and give them one less thing to worry about.

‘We are truly amazed at how generous people have been and the assistance given. Debbie and Ray have always been very community minded.’

Ms Amey said the school’s theatre arts class last week was dedicated to Imogen’s memory.

She said: ‘We looked through photos and have put together an album of pictures and words to pass on to Imogen’s family. It was an emotional but positive session and I’m very proud of how supportive all of my students were.’

To help Imogen’s family, visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/imogen