Moving tributes to Ellie Mowforth, 6, who died at home in Cottingham after brave battle with cancer
THE parents of a little girl who has died from a rare form of brain cancer have paid tribute to their precious daughter, who was always smiling.
Six-year-old Ellie Mowforth passed away at her Cottingham home on Sunday, almost a year after she was diagnosed with an incurable tumour on her birthday.
Her parents, John and Lisa Mowforth, say they will always treasure memories and photographs of a trip the family made to Lapland with the When You Wish Upon A Star charity at Christmas.
John, 53, said: "Ellie was everything we had ever wanted in our lives and she came in one little bundle of joy.
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"She touched the lives of thousands. People idolised her. One woman has called us to say Ellie had changed her outlook on life.
"Even on the way home from Lapland, exhausted and poorly, she was smiling and making everyone on the plane laugh."
Lisa, 40, said: "She was so kind and caring. If someone was upset, she would run up to them with a tissue.
"I still can't believe I won't ever get to cuddle her, hold her and kiss her."
John said Ellie, who attended Cottingham's Westfield Primary School, first showed signs of being unwell last February.
"Ellie was walking a bit to the left," he said. "But we didn't think much of it.
"Then we had a phone call out of the blue from her school to say she had stumbled over.
"We took her to the doctors and they said she probably had an ear infection.
"She went back to school and had another fall.
"We took her back to the doctor and she was given antibiotics.
"Then we noticed Ellie could not pick anything up in the left hand."
Lisa immediately called for an ambulance and Ellie was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary, where she had a CAT scan.
"The doctor came out and said he could not see anything sinister, other than slight swelling, which can apparently sometimes happen in children," said John.
"I remember thinking, 'Thank you, Lord'."
However, a short time later, the same doctor revealed terrible news.
John said: "The doctor sat us down and said, 'I am really sorry. I told you this morning there was nothing wrong, but unfortunately there is something there. We have found a small tumour'."
Ellie was immediately taken to Leeds General Infirmary, where she underwent an MRI scan.
"We were crying all the way in the ambulance," said John.
Doctors confirmed their worst fears.
"We walked into a room and it was full," said John.
"I just knew we were about to find something out that we did not want to hear.
"They told us, 'We are really sorry to tell you that your daughter has an inoperable tumour'.
"I asked what they could do to save her.
"They said, 'There's nothing we can do'.
"I asked them how long she had.
"A doctor replied, 'One year, maximum, and I am never far wrong.'
"She looked at me and I looked at my wife.
Four days later, Ellie began a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to give her as long as possible.
John quit his job as a labourer for Hull construction firm Sewell Group, while Lisa gave up her position as a housekeeper at the Mercure Hotel in Willerby.
"Our focus was solely Ellie," said John. "Nothing else mattered."
In November, Ellie switched on Cottingham's Christmas lights.
On Christmas Eve, her parents brought her home from a hospice where she was being cared for.
She died at 2am on Sunday in John and Lisa's bed.
"Ellie was in Mummy and Daddy's bed when she died," said John.
"My wife had held her hand for 24 hours, never letting it go."
John and Lisa said they have been able to draw strength from the way Ellie coped with the disease.
"She never once moaned or asked, 'Why can't I do this or that'," said John.
"She was just a fantastic, beautiful little girl."
Video: When You Wish Upon A Star visit to Lapland, featuring Ellie Mowforth and her parents
• Today's Mail features an extended tribute to Ellie.