DEVASTATED Mark Channon and Kelly Mullett were today saying a final goodbye to the daughter they lost to a mystery illness.
Six-year-old Lilian Channon, known as Lily, was a bubbly, healthy girl who was doted on by her mum and dad.
But she died suddenly after developing what appeared to be a cold.
Her parents, who were today attending their daughter’s funeral, don’t know what caused her death,
Two post mortems have been carried out, but results have been inconclusive.
Mark, 50, of Priory Road, Gosport, said: ‘Lily was a well-loved, popular and a helpful individual.
‘Myself and Kelly are quiet people, who don’t have many friends. We wanted to make sure she didn’t go down the same route.
‘And she didn’t – she was known to everyone young and old. She stabilised me and quietened me down.
‘She definitely made me into a better person.
‘I used to say I had made her a clone of myself, made sure she was self-sufficient. And I thought to myself my work here is done.
‘I never expected she would go before us.
‘Perhaps maybe she was here to change me and her work here has now been done.
‘That took me a while to get my head around, but that’s what I’m trying to go with.’
Lily first showed signs of being unwell on Saturday, March 3, after coming home from a birthday party. Her parents noticed she had become quiet and kept her off school on the Monday and Tuesday, believing she had a cold.
Mum Kelly, 40, said that on the Wednesday her daughter said she was feeling cold so she ran a bath for her.
‘She said the water felt nice and warm,’ said Kelly.
‘When we got her out she was sick and then Mark couldn’t feel her pulse.’
Concerned, Mark and Kelly called paramedics, who took Lily to Queen Alexandra, Hospital, Cosham.
Although doctors did all they could – including bringing in a specialist consultant from Southampton – Lily died.
‘I used to call her my angel of music and my little princess,’ added Mark.
‘I really miss her like crazy and it drives me nuts and it’s cutting me up that her death is so vague.
‘I can’t understand why this has happened.
‘It is a void in my heart that has broken me.’
Lily, who went to Elson Infant School, in Exmouth Road, Gosport, was also a huge fan of the musical The Phantom of the Opera.
Mark, who is a Ministry of Defence guard, said: ‘We have put a script of the opera inside her coffin.
‘She loved animals – she had two guinea pigs called Peanut and Butter and two goldfish whose name would change every day.
‘She said she wanted to be a vet when she grew up.
‘She loved gardening and had a little allotment plot to grow things in.’
Lily’s funeral was due to take place today at St Thomas the Apostle Church, Gosport.
Lily’s school to create lasting garden tribute
LILY Channon had a love of swimming, rowing and all things water-related.
And that will now live on as her school creates a water feature as a lasting tribute to her.
Lily went to Elson Infant School, in Exmouth Road, Gosport, where staff and pupils have been shocked by her death.
Staff plan to put a water feature in the school’s garden in her memory.
Headteacher Amanda MacCallum paid tribute to Lily.
‘Lily was a lively little girl, who was popular, worked hard and loved school,’ she said.
‘Her death is a complete shock to the whole school and she will be sadly missed.
‘She had so many friends in school and it is a terrible shock to everybody.
‘It’s a tragedy that such a promising life has been cut short.’
On Thursday, year one pupils from the school will hold a service for Lily at St Thomas the Apostle Church, Gosport.
Afterwards all pupils will come together in the school field and release balloons into the sky in her memory.
‘She was a child who loved to sing,’ added Amanda.
‘She had a great imagination and had lots of ideas.
‘But she was never bossy and always shared her games with everyone.
‘And just because she had thought of a game, it didn’t mean she would take charge all the time.
‘She will be very sadly missed.’