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Charity’s ‘great sadness’ at death of Ilfracombe youth worker

PUBLISHED: 11:58 28 May 2014

Floral tributes to Belle laid near the Real McCaf youth centre on Ilfracombe seafront. Picture: Dave Baxter of Wytchwynd Photography.

Floral tributes to Belle laid near the Real McCaf youth centre on Ilfracombe seafront. Picture: Dave Baxter of Wytchwynd Photography.

Wytchwynd Photography

Kenyans planting trees in memory of ‘popular, generous and friendly’ Christi Kelly.

Christi Kelly pictured with children in Kenya, adding her own call to the campaign to prevent youth service cuts. Christi Kelly pictured with children in Kenya, adding her own call to the campaign to prevent youth service cuts.

THE chairman of the charity Ilfracombe volunteer Christi Kelly was working for when she died in Kenya has spoken of great sadness at her loss.

The 21-year-old died on Wednesday at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi after falling ill the Sunday before with a ‘sudden and severe’ case of malaria.

Belle, as she was known to many, was on 10 month leave from Devon Youth Service, volunteering for the Moving Mountains charity at a school and children’s home in western Kenya.

Moving Mountains chairman Gavin Bate said they were deeply saddened at the news:

Family and friends release balloons at Ilfracombe Pier in memory of Christi Belle Kelly. Picture: Dave Baxter of Wytchwynd Photography. Family and friends release balloons at Ilfracombe Pier in memory of Christi Belle Kelly. Picture: Dave Baxter of Wytchwynd Photography.

“We are in close contact with all of those concerned and we offer our deepest condolences to Christi’s family and friends,” he said.

On Monday her mother Carol posted on Facebook that ‘Belle is back home in Ilfracombe where she belongs’.

Friends, family and well-wishers have left floral tributes to Belle outside the Real McCaf youth centre on Ilfracombe seafront, where she became involved with her community from a young age.

She took part, became a volunteer and later a youth worker, before the opportunity came up in January to go to Kenya.

Floral tributes to Belle laid near the Real McCaf youth centre on Ilfracombe seafront. Picture: Dave Baxter of Wytchwynd Photography. Floral tributes to Belle laid near the Real McCaf youth centre on Ilfracombe seafront. Picture: Dave Baxter of Wytchwynd Photography.

Mr Bate said she had made a great contribution to the project, getting fully involved in the activities and quickly becoming very popular with the children, staff and community members.

“The staff, volunteers and children she worked with in Western Kenya are planting trees in her memory and have held a prayer and remembrance ceremony for her,” he added.

“Christi made a great contribution to the project, getting fully involved in the activities and quickly becoming very popular with the children, staff and community members.

“As well as helping to organise and run a range of activities including sports, art, music, drama, homework and literacy clubs, Christi was also particularly involved with dance and had set up a dance group with some of the young people in the area.

“The group was proud to perform at the wedding of the headteacher of the local school and Christi really enjoyed working with the young Kenyans in the group and learning from and sharing with them.

“Our staff in Kenya remember her as a very generous, friendly girl who was popular with the children, loved being in Kenya and learning and speaking the local Luo language and loved to dance, play and share her time.”

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