Molly leaves legacy in family tragedy

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A TEENAGER who was the inspiration behind a Sheffield charity that helps families with children with special needs has died suddenly.

Amy’s House was set up after Molly Hurditch’s family struggled to find somewhere near their Handsworth homes to take her at the weekends. It was named after Molly’s sister, who died of meningitis 12 years ago at the age of eight.

Now mum Jayne and grandparents Maurice and Meriel Littlewood have been devastated by the death of Molly, who had numerous health complications and disabilities. The Talbot Special School pupil, who was 17, suffered a huge epileptic seizure.

Jayne, aged 46, said she hoped the legacy of her daughters would help the family through their latest tragedy.

“I feel like I am in a dream like state at the moment,” she said. “None of it seems quite real. I am still in that stage where I believe she has just gone in for some respite care for the weekend and I will pick her up tomorrow.

“I keep thinking, ‘I must hurry up because I’ve got to pick up Molly’ – but now I’ve got no-one left to look after. I feel completely lost.”

Jayne said she carried on after Amy’s death because of Molly.

“She needed me – she was only five at the time, and any five-year-old needs their mum, but especially her because of her special needs. We were best friends, we did everything together. It was the same with my mum and my dad – now that she has gone, they are totally lost too.”

Amy’s House, based at Ballifield Primary School, sees 30 families using its services during school holidays as well as weekends.

Maurice Littlewood received the MBE for services to the Handsworth community, which includes the charity, and in his role as chairman of Handsworth Forum.

Molly was diagnosed with partial lissencephaly – a condition in which the brain does not develop properly in the womb – when she was 13 months old, leaving her with epilepsy, autism and speech and mobility problems.

Her 17th birthday on May 1 was celebrated with a royal wedding-themed party at which guests wore red, white and blue. She also went on a residential trip to Whirlow hall Farm.

“She’d done yoga, and dancing, and gone swimming as normal. She went into respite at Mulberry Lodge the night before as usual and her social worker went to visit her there and said she was full of fun - full of smiles and in good humour. It was such a shock to get the call the next morning to say something was wrong.”

Jayne added: “Molly was a wonderful person. She loved to make you laugh - whether that was by making a funny face or tickling you or wiggling her bum, she always put a smile on your face. She was sweet and loving, although she was no angel and certainly had her moments!

“Now all we can hope is that if there is somewhere after this place, Amy and Molly are together again. I just hope Molly does not have to suffer all the things she had to deal with on earth. I hope she is happy and healthy with Amy.”

The funeral was at Handsworth Methodist Church on Tuesday.