THE funeral of courageous disabled girl Iona-May Thorne will be taking place on Monday (October 21) at Worthing Crematorium.
The seven-year-old’s family, who have been touched by tributes paid by friends, family and strangers, are welcoming the public to the ceremony, which they are saying will be a ‘celebration of life’ for the youngster, who died last Thursday (October 10).
The family are asking people to come dressed in the colours of the rainbow for the afternoon with the service due to start at 1pm.
In a tribute to the Gazette and Herald, Iona-May’s mum Vicki, of Roundstone Drive, East Preston, said: “I am just so very overwhelmed at the amount of support and messages we have received, daily.
“I am receiving messages from strangers even who explain they have been following Iona-May’s story for many years, wanting to send their condolences.
“It is really heartwarming to know just how many people’s hearts she touched and how loved she was.
“I am clearly devastated and it’s going to take a very long time to recover but we have a huge amount of support around us.
“It pains me that she won’t be here for the birth of her baby brother/sister but take comfort that she decided it was the right time for her and that she felt comfortable and happy in her new home to rest here.”
The family have asked well-wishers to make a donation which will then be split between the four charities that have supported Iona-May through her life – the Camelia Botnar Children’s Centre, Worthing, Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, Poling, Worthing Kids and Dappersnapper and the educational organisation, Worthing Portage Service.
Those wishing to donate can do so online, via PayPal, to info@helpionamay or by cheque addressed Help Iona-May, delivered to 86 Roundstone Drive, East Preston, BN16 1ER.
Vicki added: “Iona-May has given me the best seven years of my life and has taught me so much about life, people and kindness and about what really matters.
“I feel blessed to have been privileged to be her mummy and will always be so very proud of everything she achieved in her short little life.”