Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Ilfracombe bids farewell to ‘inspirational’ young woman

14:24 05 June 2014

Police had to close some roads and divert traffic as hundreds gathered at Ilfracombe Christian Fellowship Church for the service to celebrate youth worker Christi Kelly's life on Thursday.

Police had to close some roads and divert traffic as hundreds gathered at Ilfracombe Christian Fellowship Church for the service to celebrate youth worker Christi Kelly's life on Thursday.

Archant

More than 300 people attend a service to celebrate the life of 21-year-old youth worker Christi Kelly.

Christi Kelly pictured with children in Kenya.Christi Kelly pictured with children in Kenya.

HUNDREDS turned out in Ilfracombe this morning (Thursday) for the memorial service to celebrate the life of 21-year-old youth worker Christi Kelly.

Police had to close some roads and put diversions in place around the Christian Fellowship Church in the High Street where the service was held, while many of the 300-plus in attendance listened from the pavement.

Christi, known as Belle to many of her friends and colleagues, died of malaria on May 21 while working as a volunteer in Kenya at a school and children’s home for the Moving Mountains charity.

She was well known and hugely popular in Ilfracombe, as a youth worker with Devon Youth Service, a teacher and volunteer at Rebecca Varley School of Dance and through the church.

Mourners spilled out on to the High Street as more than 300 people gathered for the memorial service to celebrate youth worker Christi Kelly's life on Thursday.Mourners spilled out on to the High Street as more than 300 people gathered for the memorial service to celebrate youth worker Christi Kelly's life on Thursday.

The service was opened by Pastor Richard Caswell and followed with the hymn Rooftops plus tributes by youth worker Sara Parkin, Christi’s sister Rosie Taylor and Rebecca Varley.

A poem was read by Janine Schiller and pastor Justine Caswell also read a tribute before Richard Caswell read the closing message and the hymn Mighty to Save.

Towards the end of the service one young woman was apparently overcome and had to be helped outside where she was given first aid while police called for an ambulance to attend.

In his address Mr Caswell praised the fun, bubbly and multi talented young woman who had made an impact wherever she went.

Mourners spilled out on to the High Street as more than 300 people gathered for the memorial service to celebrate youth worker Christi Kelly's life on Thursday.Mourners spilled out on to the High Street as more than 300 people gathered for the memorial service to celebrate youth worker Christi Kelly's life on Thursday.

“I am sure that we all have some great memories of her,” he said.

“She would have loved this; she would have absolutely loved all the attention, that’s for sure.

“She was able to give an argument and defend others, and I found that quite tremendous.”

With a strong sense of social justice, when she was just 15 Christi and her friends organised a protest march through Ilfracombe to save local youth centre the Real McCaf from closure.

Later she spoke before thousands at a Choice Youth Rally opposite the Houses of Parliament, meeting the then Minister for Youth Tim Loughton MP.

She went on to become a senior member of the youth service and then an adult volunteer, helping to set up programmes across the area.

Last year she went on a 10 week course in Borneo with Raleigh International and in January the opportunity to work in Kenya came up.

“In her life she was an inspiration and in her death we know she was doing something that she loved to do,” said Mr Caswell inn closing.

Afterwards, he said her inspiration had affected many people in Ilfracombe and most people in the town had known her. He said she had been an active member of the church and helped out with its toddler group and the younger children.

“She really stood for her faith, she was not ashamed of it,” he said.

“Within the 21 years of her life she really shared her life in so many different things, which I think is why so many people turned out today.”

The church will be open tomorrow (Friday) between 8.30am and 8pm for people to go along and write their tributes and memories of Christi.

* Her family have set up ‘Belle’s Memorial Fund’ at the mydonate website, with donations going to support the Kenyan community she had lived and worked with since January.

Donations may be made via https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/christibellekellymemorial.

Other News Stories

45 minutes ago

Photographed something special? Send it to our newsroom via our relaunched image sharing website

Read more
49 minutes ago

Colorseum in Bideford is supporting cancer patients with a new line of treatments, as well as offering free head shaves and donating to local charity, ChemoHero.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:00

‘Don’t leave valuables on display in unattended cars’ police warn North Devon motorists after spate of thefts

Read more
Yesterday, 17:13

Two men are being dealt with by police following a drugs raid at Mullacott Industrial Estate

Read more
Yesterday, 17:01

Ilfracombe and Combe Martin crews attend mini digger blaze

Read more
Yesterday, 14:28

Free parking, hot drinks and barbecue if you go along to the Big Saunton Beach Clean this Sunday (February 26)

Read more
Yesterday, 10:30

Peter Heaton-Jones and Geoffrey Cox have told Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that a loss of services in North Devon would be ‘unacceptable’.

Read more
Wed, 14:45

Jessie Prentice - who was featured in the Gazette on her birthday last month - has died at the age of 104 in Westward Ho!

Read more
Wed, 12:54

Inquest hears that amateur rider landed on wooden pole

Read more
Wed, 10:27

A yellow warning is in place tomorrow (Thursday) for North Devon and the Met Office predicts ‘very strong winds’.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications