‘Now we’ll try to help others’

The parents and friends of Gemma Weaver have set up a charity to help local asthma sufferers as Gemma died of an asthma attack at the age of 10. Pictured is Tony and Vix Brown and James Hay-Barr G120121-4a
The parents and friends of Gemma Weaver have set up a charity to help local asthma sufferers as Gemma died of an asthma attack at the age of 10. Pictured is Tony and Vix Brown and James Hay-Barr G120121-4a

THE FAMILY of a young Gainsborough girl who died of an asthma attack have started up a charity in her memory.

Former Charles Baines Primary School pupil Gemma Weaver died of a rapid onset acute asthma attack on 4th March 2011 - she was just 10-years-old.

Gemma Weaver died of an asthma attack at the age of 10 G120121-4c

Gemma Weaver died of an asthma attack at the age of 10 G120121-4c

Now, her parents and family-friends hope to raise awareness of the condition, as well as raising money to help other young asthma-sufferers in the Gainsborough area.

Gemma’s father Tony Brown, who plays rugby for the Gainsborough All Blacks, said that not enough people are aware of just how deadly asthma can be.

“Gemma suffered with asthma since she was about 4-years-old,” said Tony. “We never realised that it kills three people in the UK a day until after she died - it’s a deadly disease and this shouldn’t be happening.”

“She was a wonderful and amazing little girl. Gemma was a normal child who was quite quiet but she really came into her own in her last couple of years and started playing sports and netball.”

He continued: “I remember when she died - she called me into the bedroom and she was breathing very heavily. I tried to give her the inhaler but it was too late. They told us at the inquest that there was nothing we could have done.”

Now, the family who have since moved to Newtoft, say they will do all that they can to help local families to make sure they don’t have to go through the same ordeal.

Tony went on: “The fund is up and running. At first we just wanted to put a bench and memorial in her school, but then we decided that we had to do a lot more. We wanted to become a charity in our own right to help children in the area who have to deal with asthma.”

He added: “We don’t want other parents to go through what we’ve been through.”

Tony’s wife Vix said: “Gemma always loved playing with her brothers and sisters. It’s just such a shame that she never got to meet her little brother Seth.”

“I only found out that I was pregnant with him two weeks before she died.”

Vix continued: “We’ve a lot of fundraising events lined up - so if anyone would like to help then please come along or get in touch to donate money or raffle prizes. We need a new website too.”

Family friend and chairman of Gemma’s Memorial Fund James Hay-Barr said: “Not only do we need to raise awareness, but we want to work with local medical practices and schools to make sure they have the right equipment and training to deal with asthma-sufferers and to help with the education of parents whose children suffer with it.”

“I have chronic asthma myself, and it’s a struggle for me to handle, so it must be very difficult for children.”

He continued: “We need to provide people with external support - the local health centres are great, but if the support they give can be extended by us, then that would be great.”

James added: “We want to get local people involved to help out and take the load off Tony and Vix. We’re hoping that it will become dynamic and we’d certainly welcome many more members.”

“Anyone who has experience with asthma or knows how traumatic it can be - please come forward. Whether it’s a baby, a youngster or an adult dying of asthma - it just shouldn’t be happening.”

A spokesman from Charles Baines Community Primary School added: “Gemma was a much valued member of the school - she worked hard in class and particularly loved her art.”

“She will be fondly remembered by everyone at Charles Baines.”

n A special memorial charity ball will be taking place to commemorate Gemma’s death and raise money at the White Heather, Caenby Corner on 3rd March. Tickets are £35 and include a four-course-meal.

n A fundraising Race Night and raffle will be held at Newtoft Social Club on Saturday 18th February from 8pm.

n For more information or to make a donation you can call 07557760078 or 01673885156.

You can also email gemmasmemorialfund@gmail.com