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‘I hope it helps other parents’ - Family create special headstone to remember ‘cheeky’ son

PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 August 2020

12-year-old Kian Murphy's headstone created by his parents and Mark Skinner Funeral Services. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

12-year-old Kian Murphy's headstone created by his parents and Mark Skinner Funeral Services. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

Samantha Wheeler

The parents of a 12-year-old boy who died in 2018 hope to help others who have lost a child, after they created a special headstone to remember their “cheeky” son.

12-year-old Kian Murphy's headstone created by his parents and Mark Skinner Funeral Services. Photo: Samantha Wheeler12-year-old Kian Murphy's headstone created by his parents and Mark Skinner Funeral Services. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

Samantha Wheeler and Kevin Murphy, from Toftwood, in Dereham, lost their son Kian Murphy, in February 2018, after he fell into a seizure and could not be revived.

At birth Kian contracted meningitis, which left him with brain damage. He also had cerebral palsy, visual impairment and was profoundly deaf.

Despite this, Kian’s parents said their son was a healthy and happy boy and his unexpected death left his family devastated.

But more than two years later, Ms Wheeler and Mr Murphy, with the help of Mark Skinner Funeral Services, finished their son’s headstone, filled with the things he loved and memories they will cherish forever.

Kian Murphy with his sister Ava Murphy. Kian died in 2018. Photo: Samantha WheelerKian Murphy with his sister Ava Murphy. Kian died in 2018. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

The mother-of-five said: “Kian touched the heart of anyone he met.

“He was always smiling and he was such a character. He was really cheeky.

“And he loved to watch the Teletubbies. He loved anything bright and bouncy because he couldn’t hear.

“It has taken us a good year to do it, but it was deciding what we wanted and whether we could have anything like that.

Kian Murphy, son of Samantha Wheeler and Kevin Murphy, died in 2018. Photo: Samantha WheelerKian Murphy, son of Samantha Wheeler and Kevin Murphy, died in 2018. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

“I didn’t know I could have such a brightly coloured headstone with a Teletubby on it and his picture.

“I know it’s silly but it makes me think of him happy, laughing and playing.”

Now the family hope to show other parents, that they can also create the perfect headstone for their child.

But Ms Wheeler and Mr Murphy said they couldn’t have done it without the help of the family-run business, Mark Skinner Funeral Services, in Brandon.

Samantha Wheeler and her son Kian Murphy, who died in 2018. Photo: Samantha WheelerSamantha Wheeler and her son Kian Murphy, who died in 2018. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

In a post online, the business wrote: “We have been working with Kian’s parents and our highly skilled stonemason to create this very personal memorial dedicated to their beloved son.

“Kian loved the Teletubbies and loved playing with balloons, so it seems so fitting and reflects Kian’s beautiful personality perfectly.

“The end result is a very special memorial for a very special boy.”

Ms Wheeler added: “I just hope it helps other parents to know what they can have, because it is such a difficult time.

12-year-old Kian Murphy's headstone created by his parents and Mark Skinner Funeral Services. Photo: Samantha Wheeler12-year-old Kian Murphy's headstone created by his parents and Mark Skinner Funeral Services. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

“We would just like to say a massive thank you for everything Mark Skinner Funeral Service’s have done and how grateful we are.”

Kian Murphy with his sister Ava Murphy meeting The Teletubbies. Kian died in 2018. Photo: Samantha WheelerKian Murphy with his sister Ava Murphy meeting The Teletubbies. Kian died in 2018. Photo: Samantha Wheeler

Kevin Murphy and his children, Ava Murphy, Dylan Murphy, Kian Murphy (middle), Liam Murphy and Tyler Murphy. Photo: Samantha MurphyKevin Murphy and his children, Ava Murphy, Dylan Murphy, Kian Murphy (middle), Liam Murphy and Tyler Murphy. Photo: Samantha Murphy


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