Login Register

Mother pays moving tribute to young daughter from Devon who died from malaria

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: May 24, 2014

Christi Kelly

Comments (1)

Tributes have been paid to a young British aid worker from Devon who has died from malaria.

Christi Kelly, 21, was cooking meals for poverty-stricken youngsters while volunteering at a primary school in Kenya.

She was teaching them to dance when she fell ill.

She was taken to a hospital six hours away in the capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday but died the following day.

Christi's stunned family from Ilfracombe, say she had all the necessary injections and was taking anti-malaria tablets.

The former university student was three months into a ten-month European Union assignment with Moving Mountains, a trust which improves social conditions in Kenya.

She was stationed in the western county of Siaya, living at an orphanage and teaching dance at the local primary school.

Christi's heartbroken mother Carol Kelly said she was desperate for answers about her daughter's death.

She last spoke with her on Sunday, when Christi said she had been in bed and was feeling unwell.

Carol, 41, said: "She was teaching the children dance, she absolutely loved it out there.

"She was living at the orphanage and teaching at the primary school. She taught dance but she obviously helped out with the cooking and so on.

"As far as we're aware, everything happened very quickly.

"I think she went to hospital on Tuesday and died on Wednesday morning at around 6am - but it's all very unclear at the moment.

"We had been speaking to her a lot more because of all the troubles in Kenya but they were fine.

"It's got the highest rate of malaria but she had had all her injections and was taking tablets."

Christi attended Ilfracombe Arts College before completing a foundation degree in Dance and Community Work Practice at Plymouth university.

She became a youth worker for Devon Youth Services and taught at the Rebecca Varley Dance School in Ilfracombe.

Christi was on her second overseas assignment, having carried out environmental aid work in Borneo last year during a three month trip with Raleigh International.

Carol, who has three other children, said: "She was full of life and a huge character, which is why everyone's so devastated.

"She loved everyone, cared about everyone and drove everyone crazy. She loved life and she was too young."

"She was very passionate about helping young people - that was her life. She was a real people person.

"It's a real comfort to think that she had all these amazing experiences."

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Ilfracombe seafront on Thursday evening to release balloons in memory of Christi, who was known as Belle to her many friends.

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters
  • theparcel  |  May 24 2014, 8:30PM

    Really sad story, at least she was doing something she loved, it was her passion...................