'She was a fighter'- Tributes to music-loving Kelsey, 27

A young woman sitting in a wheelchair

Music-loving Kelsey Hardesty died suddenly at the age of 27 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Tributes have been paid to a former north Norfolk pupil who “always had a smile on her face”. 

Kelsey Hardesty, of Reepham, between Dereham and Aylsham, died suddenly at the age of 27 following a short illness in hospital. 

At 18 months old, she was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome – a rare genetic disorder that affects brain development and causes physical and mental disability.  

A young girl smiling at the camera

Kelsey Hardesty, pictured when she was six - Credit: ARCHANT LIBRARY

She had been a pupil at Edinburgh Road School in Holt but later moved to Sheringham’s special needs school Woodfields, a place which she is said to have “loved”. She attended until she was 19 years old.  

Allison Wise and Alan Hardesty paid tribute to their daughter. 

Mrs Wise said: “She loved people, being with people, and watching other people.

“She did not talk, but I could tell by her facial expressions what she felt, and she would flap her hands if she was excited. She laughed and smiled a lot. In fact, she always had a smile on her face.” 

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Kelsey loved music and would enjoy watching the music channels on television. She was a huge fan of the singer Avril Lavigne, who she went to see in concert.  

She was also a Norwich City Football Club season ticket holder and would watch matches with her dad.  

As well as visiting Holt Day Care Centre frequently, from the age of six she was involved with the East Coast Truckers and went on several convoys to Pleasurewood Hills every year until she was 18. 

Woman in a wheelchair pictured in front of Cromer Pier

Kelsey Hardesty on a trip to Cromer - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Mrs Wise added: "She was a fighter with everything she had going on in her life. She was always happy and never showed any distress or pain she felt.

“She was always bubbly and herself – that was just her little character. 

“She will be loved and missed by all of her family and friends and will always be remembered with a smile.” 

Kelsey died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on December 22, after she developed a chest infection following surgery for a perforated bowel.  

As well as her parents, she leaves behind her sister Jade, nephew Isaac, and step-dad Martin.   

An invitation-only funeral service will take place at GreenAcres Colney on Thursday, January 28. Donations in Kelsey's memory, instead of flowers, to the Friends of Sheringham Woodfields School, sent c/o Gordon Barber Funeral Home, 43 Norwich Road, Dereham, NR20 3AS or by ringing 01362 700505.

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