Grieving family pay tribute to ‘one-off’ daughter

Claire Braithwaite
Claire Braithwaite

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THE mother of a teenage girl who died unexpectedly has said she has been kept strong by kind words from her daughter’s many friends.

Karen Braithwaite, 44, lost her daughter Claire, 18, last week after she suffered from peritonitis – an inflamation of the lining of the abdomen.

She now keeps Claire’s phone by her side so she can read the many tributes being posted to her daughter’s Facebook page.

Karen, of Elmore Road, in Lee-on-the-Solent, said: ‘I keep Claire’s phone on me just for my own comfort.

‘Every time it vibrates and I look there’s another message on Facebook talking about how fantastic she was.

‘It’s been hard sometimes and we’ve had to stop from time to time.

‘It’s all those teenagers, they keep me going.’

More than 50 bouquets of flowers have been placed outside Claire’s former school, Bay House School, in Gomer Lane, Gosport.

She was a pupil at the school from 2006 to 2011 before she went to Fareham College.

Karen and Claire’s grandmother Maggie Hammond, 67, added Claire’s kind nature made her a ‘one-off.’

Karen said: ‘She would always listen. She’d sit and listen for hours when some of her friends had problems in the past.

‘She was just Claire – that’s the only way you can describe her.

‘We’ve had 300 people asking about her and about the funeral, that’s just the measure of it. Nobody’s got a bad thing to say about her.’

Claire had tonsillitis and had become dehydrated and sick on Friday, June 7 before she was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital last Monday with a ruptured appendix, before she died.

Claire is survived by her dad Daniel, 46, and three brothers, Danny, 15, Peter, 23, and Paul, 25.

Today Paul and his partner Sophie are due to see the premature arrival of their baby daughter, who will now take Claire as a middle name.

Claire leaves behind her boyfriend, Lewis Blair, who together with Claire had made plans for the future, said mum Karen.

The family plan to have a horse-drawn carriage at her funeral as that is what Claire wanted at her wedding.

Peter added: ‘I always tried to protect her, the big brother thing.’