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

Tributes after ‘inspirational’ Ilfracombe youth worker dies in Kenya

PUBLISHED: 16:46 25 May 2014 | UPDATED: 16:46 25 May 2014

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.

Archant

Friends and family mourn the sudden death of popular Christi Kelly from malaria.

ILFRACOMBE has been left stunned following the sudden death in Kenya of a 21-year-old youth worker from the town.

Christi Belle Kelly died on Wednesday morning at a hospital in Nairobi after falling ill with malaria on Sunday.

Hundreds of family and friends gathered at the seafront in Ilfracombe on Thursday to release balloons in her memory.

Known as Belle to many who knew her, Christi had been on leave from Devon Youth Service to work for 10 months as a volunteer in Kenya for the Moving Mountains charity.

Tributes have poured in for the youth worker, volunteer and dance teacher, who was described as ‘inspirational’ by many.

Simon Cohen, team leader for Devon Youth Service, said she was a dedicated young person with a colossal sense of social justice:

“Youth Service staff had heard she had been unwell on Sunday but assumed it was nothing too serious,” he said.

“It came as an immense shock to everyone when we found out this beautiful, courageous, talented role model and inspiration to so many, with still so much to give, was taken from us by malaria.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Belle, her family, friends and those who worked with her at this extremely difficult time.

“Many of us seek solace in knowing that Belle packed so much in too so few years and made such a positive lasting impression on young people, family, friends and staff alike. A true inspiration who will be sorely missed.

“Family meant a great deal to Belle especially her mum Carol, so when the opportunity to take 10 months unpaid leave arose to work with Moving Mountains in Kenya, it was a chance she could not turn down despite, having massive reservations of missing family, friends and her work.”

She was passionate about dance, working and volunteering with the Rebecca Varley School of Dance in the town, helping to stage a number of shows at the Lantern Centre and Landmark.

There have been countless tributes on social media – on the Devon Youth Service Facebook group page, youth worker Sara Parkin wrote: ‘An inspiration to many. A daughter, a sister and a friend. Our thoughts and love are with Carol and family. So many of us will feel the loss but will be better people for having known her. Rest in happiness Belle, with all our love’.

Jess Runyard added: ‘I’m proud to have been able to call her my friend xxxxx’.

Koren Alanis Williams: ‘She was an inspiration to all who knew her, never afraid to follow her dreams! I’m so glad to have known her, she will be missed greatly. Thoughts are with everyone else who knew her and with her family Xx’.

Other News Stories

Controversial plans to transform Knapp House caravan site into a woodland holiday park are set to be decided on next month.

Read more

Apprentices at the Bideford-based social enterprise will learn new skills to get back into work.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:07

North Devon had some hope after claims no decision had been made, but the latest comments suggest the closure of RMB Chivenor will still happen

Read more
Yesterday, 15:44

Channel 4 star hoping to save households hundreds of pounds at village hall event

Read more
Yesterday, 12:08

Communities in North Devon are rallying round today (Monday) to start the clean-up after being hit by flash flooding yesterday.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:40

Four hungry contestants took on the brand new ‘Macho Nacho’ eating challenge at the Custom House in Barnstaple - watch how the got on here.

Read more
Sunday, January 21, 2018

Combe Martin was among many places hit by flash flooding on Sunday morning – but villagers turned out in their droves to help

Read more
Sunday, January 21, 2018

A number of properties have been evacated near Barnstaple due to widespread flooding.

Read more
Sunday, January 21, 2018

A flood alert has been issued for North Devon due to heavy rainfall overnight.

Read more
Sunday, January 21, 2018

A road in Muddiford has flooded due to heavy rain overnight.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 10°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