Calderdale councillor pays tribute to 'beautiful and courageous' daughter

Rastrick councillor Christine Beal with daughter Emma, left, who has sadly died
Rastrick councillor Christine Beal with daughter Emma, left, who has sadly died

A Calderdale Councillor has paid tribute to her 'beautiful and courageous' daughter who has died from a devastating illness.

Coun Christine Beal (Rastrick, Conservative) has written this tribute about her 28-year-old daughter Emma who battled mitochondrial disease but sadly passed away last Thursday.

Emma was on holiday in Turkey with her fiance Paul Bates when she was taken ill.

Christine along with her husband Peter and 'mum-in-law' Sue were all ableto fly out to be with Emma in Turkey at the end of her all-too-short, but well-lived life.

The family received assistance from the Turkish government who flew Emma to the best equipped hospital in Izmir at no charge to give her the best possible chance

The specialist mitochondrial team in Newcastle also offered amazing help, reassurance and efforts to liaise with the Turkish medical team to help Emma fulfil her wish to donate tissue to mitochondrial research.

The family now await repatriation back to the UK.

Christine said: "Anyone who knew Emma will be welcome to come to the celebration of her life once it's arranged.

"We thank everyone so much who has already heard the sad news and reached out in support. It has given us such tremendous comfort at this difficult time.

Christine has also sent out a special thanks for the 'wonderful kindnesses' the family has received by complete strangers in Turkey who have embraced them and assisted them with 'humanity, love and compassion'.

Here is Christine's tribute piece.

"Tragically we have just lost our beautiful and courageous elder daughter, Emma, 28 to a devastating illness – mitochondrial disease.

"Emma lived her life with the utmost grace, positivity, non-judgement and compassion. She genuinely never would say a bad word about anyone, even those who may not have served her well.

"She worked at the council for a very short while but spent the last two years or so caring for people with profound disability with Scope, to the extent her illness allowed.

"She was also an angel in looking after her grandad who has dementia. She loved to care for others despite being so desperately ill herself and we are so immensely proud of her.

"In Emma’s name I would like to share three things which I hope will bring some positives from her illness and untimely death.

"Some illnesses are invisible. When Emma and her fiancé Paul used her disabled parking badge they often got disapproving looks.

"Whilst I understand that we all abhor abuse of this facility, please remember that some health conditions do not show.

"She needed a wheelchair occasionally but was conscious of funny looks when she walked a little. Not every wheelchair user uses it because of an inability to walk.

"In my time at Council I’ve so often been distressed, overwhelmed and frustrated by the entrenched views and lack of meaningful communication, mutual respect and cooperative working.

"Not amongst all colleagues, but sadly many - especially in the political spectrum. This expands to all areas of life where we get bogged down in dogmas and trivialities which are nowhere near as important as valuing what we have in common and seeking win/win solutions.

"ln Emma’s name I ask everyone to seek to work in more harmony and compassion, and with less judgement.

"Finally I ask readers to consider supporting our new charity which is to raise awareness and funds for mitochondrial research so a cure can be found.

"Emma was very much a part of setting up the charity and loved the idea of being able to do something positive when there was so little else that could be done.

"We never dreamed that its launch would coincide with her death but we will take strength from her strength, and launch very soon with her in spirit.

" ‘My Mito Mission’ will enable anyone with mitochondrial disease to be at the heart of their own mission to raise awareness and funds. ‘Emma’s Mito Mission’ will lead the way.

"Please look out for www.mymitomission.uk and facebook.com/mymitomission or call and leave a message on 01484 719250 so we can send you written information when it’s ready.

"Emma’s close family and I will remain ever-grateful for all the kind support we are receiving and know we’ll continue to receive from our wonderful extended family, friends and wider communities of Rastrick, Brighouse and Calderdale."