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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Swine flu hols teen laid to rest

Swine flu hols teen laid to rest
AN "outgoing and adorable" teenager who died after contracting swine flu on holiday was laid to rest today.

Madelynne Butcher's devastated brother Robin paid tribute to the 18-year-old's "spirit and strength" at the packed funeral service.

He said of the teen who fell ill after returning from Tenerife in June, before passing away last week: "I can only imagine the madness and love she would bring to my life as she began to flourish into a beautiful woman.

"With her rebellious nature, she lived her life to the full, not caring for what tomorrow may bring and her strong mind were all testament to her.

"It's her spirit and strength that I miss more than anything."

The teen, known as Maddy, wanted to study to become a doctor and was set to celebrate her A-level results later this month.

The service, at St Mary's Church, Sholing, Southampton, was led by retired priest and family friend, Canon Bruce Hartnell, who had baptised Maddy almost 18 years ago.

The 67-year-old said: "When you hear dreadful news about someone you know, you feel inevitably helpless and the opportunity that soon appeared to help the family in some small way by leading a funeral was one I could not let go.

"The message I am hoping we will take away is that although it is dreadful and we feel helpless, her life has been one well worth celebrating.

"She was a lovely child and I remember her coming to Sunday Club and services with her family. She was a lively child and when in her teens, she became even livelier.

"She made many friends and she impressed her fellow students so much that they elected her president of the students' union.

"She was outgoing and took life in her stride and she was always looking for all the enjoyment in it and was always wanting to share that.

"She packed more into her 18 years than many did in 30, she really went for it and gave a great number of people a lot of happiness."

During the service, Maddy's friend Amy Peters sang her own song, I Will Fight, in dedication to the teen.

The service began with Somewhere Over The Rainbow and ended with Yes Jesus Loves Me by Whitney Houston.

Many of Maddy's friends from her school, Itchen College, in Southampton, wore items with neon colours "to represent the colour she put into people's lives and the colourful life she had in front of her".

The group of about 250 mourners applauded as the wicker coffin was taken away by horse-drawn carriage following the service for a private family burial.

A spokesman for her parents Beverley and Alan, who live in Southampton, said that Maddy had appeared well prior to her holiday.

She travelled with a friend to the Canary Islands in June to celebrate the end of her exams but was not feeling well when she returned home a month ago.

Her mother took her to the local doctor's surgery and she was later admitted to Southampton General Hospital before being transferred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester for specialist treatment where she died on August 6.

A post-mortem was unable to establish the precise cause of the teenager's death.

The family spokesman said: "The exact cause of Maddy's death has not been confirmed. I understand that she had been previously diagnosed as suffering from swine flu. More details are not as yet available."

Grieving ... friends arrive at Madelynne’s funeral

Service ... St Mary’s church in Sholing, Southampton

Pall-bearers ... coffin is taken into the church

Paying their respects ... mourners arrive

Final farewell ... family and friends at the service

Laid to rest ... Madelynne’s coffin

Hugs ... friends embrace

Tears ... flowers for Madelynne

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