Beautiful girl with a smile that ‘lit up the room’ died in sleep

TRIBUTE Holly Barnes aged 14
TRIBUTE Holly Barnes aged 14
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A GRIEVING mother has paid an emotional tribute to her 15-year-old daughter who died in her sleep after catching pneumonia.

Alison Barnes says the premature departure of her daughter Holly, whose smile ‘lit up the room’, has left a gaping hole in her life.

Holly Barnes, a pupil at the Mary Rose School in Portsmouth, was born with severe cerebral palsy that left her in a wheelchair and unable to speak.

But Mrs Barnes, 42, of Beresford Close, Waterlooville, says her daughter spoke fluently through her expressive face.

‘They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and Holly’s were always smiling,’ she said.

‘She was a very happy child, she loved pop music, animals and girly things like having her nails painted and putting on make-up.

‘No matter what discomfort she was in, no matter how many hospital visits, or operations, she tolerated it all and stayed positive.

‘Holly was my main priority, my life revolved around her, and now there’s a huge void. I didn’t realise how much she was a part of my life until she went.

‘She taught me to value the important things in life.

‘Unlike a lot of children who are only satisfied with the latest toys and gadgets, Holly enjoyed people’s company. I miss our walks, sitting together, holding hands.

‘I miss everything about her so much.’

Holly’s family thought she would live into her late 30s or 40s – and they even nicknamed her Peter Pan because she looked a lot younger than her age. But Mrs Barnes noticed she was getting weaker with every passing year.

Her asthma was worsening and for past last three years Holly could only be fed through a tube.

Describing the night her daughter died, Mrs Barnes, a nurse at The Village Practice in Cowplain, said: ‘She suddenly got very ill.

‘I had to put her to bed because she had a temperature and I gave her medicine to cool her down and switched on the fan.

‘I kept going back to her room at regular intervals to check up on her, and one time she was gone.

‘You don’t expect to lose a child at 15. None of it has sunk in yet.’

Holly was buried in Waterloville Cemetery following a humanist service at the Cosham Masonic Hall last Friday.

There were butterflies painted on her coffin to represent Holly’s release from the metaphorical cocoon that limited her physical movements in life.

Mrs Barnes visits Holly’s grave every day. She said: ‘The cocoon is how I envisaged Holly, and now she’s been set free. I see her dancing and running around with a huge smile beaming on her beautiful face.’

n Mrs Barnes has asked for any donations in Holly’s memory to be made to Havant and District Holiday Venture, a holiday scheme for disabled children run by volunteers, at, or the Mary Rose School in Milton.