Tributes to Gabi, 12: ‘The light of our lives’

Gabi Smith
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A SHEFFIELD family this week spoke of their devastation at the loss of 12-year-old Gabrielle Smith who is thought to have drowned in her bath during a seizure.

The Notre Dame student is believed to have fallen unconscious and slipped below the water’s surface.

The alarm was raised by her 10-year-old best friend, who was on a sleepover at Gabi’s Ecclesall home. Her mother, Faye Smith, broke down the bathroom door and attempted resuscitation, while Gabi’s 16-year-old brother Zach called for an ambulance.

Although the first responder and ambulance crew fought to resuscitate her, Gabi was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where she one day hoped to work as a doctor.

“Words cannot begin to express the devastation we feel at losing our darling Gabi – the light of our lives, beautiful inside and out,” said Faye.

Gabi had suffered a seizure last May, but was released from the hospital the next day and declared fit. Three weeks ago she was given the full all-clear by a neurologist.

An inquest was due to be opened yesterday (Thursday).

Gabi died just days after the second anniversary of the death of her father. She is mourned by Faye, Zach, aged 16, grandparents Gordon and Moira Ramsay and many friends.

“She was the light of our lives, beautiful inside and out,” said Faye, a marketing consultant known throughout Sheffield for her support of charities and small businesses.

“She was a bright, cheerful, vivacious, fun-loving girl who loved shopping, adventures, swimming and spending time with her friends and family.

“She loved every single Jacqueline Wilson and Horrible History book, and at school she loved history and science.

“On a recent trip with school, she had written down her dream of becoming a doctor at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. We cannot thank that hospital enough for trying so hard to bring her back to us, and for the caring attitude of its family liaison worker.”

Faye added: “In our grief we are comforted by our Christian faith. We believe she has been reunited in heaven with her father and her heavenly father, and that Gabi will be enjoying the eternal party she loved here on earth so much.”

Faye thanked members of St Thomas Philadelphia and All Saints Church who have “surrounded us with love and care and kept vigil with us”.

Zach, who goes to Birkdale School, said: “I love Gabi so much and my life will never be the same without her happiness and kindness. I can’t wait to see her again.”

St Thomas Philadelphia Church leader Nick Allan said: “We will miss Gabi’s beautiful face and sensitive demeanour, her friendship and her faith.

Notre Dame headteacher Jane Willis described Gabi as “a valued and loved member of our school community, a lively and friendly academically-bright student who was a true all-rounder.”

A tribute wall has been created for people to leave their thoughts.

The funeral is at All Saints Church, Ecclesall, next Thursday, at 2pm.