Tributes pour in for Sheffield charity volunteer and mum-of-three who died suddenly

Heartfelt tributes have poured in for a Sheffield mother-of-three who died unexpectedly after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm aged 49.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 8:16 pm

Lan Dunstan, a popular charity volunteer who was affectionately known as 'Ella', passed away on May 4 – just a week after being diagnosed with the illness on April 27.

Her younger brother, Ben Luong, said Lan's partner discovered her in the morning and she underwent emergency surgery that night but the bleeding was severe and nothing could be done to save her.

The machine was switched off on April 30 but she fought till her last breath for four more days.

Ella Dunstan died aged 49. Picture by Ben Luong

Ben, who now resides in Ireland, said growing up, Lan was the big sister who always looked out for him and other siblings and life wasn't easy for the family especially after having moved to a completely foreign land.

"We were Vietnamese boat people and came to Sheffield in 1983. It wasn't easy growing up on the Arbourthorne but Lan, being the eldest, was always the one I looked up to and she'd always be looking out for me. Life wasn't easy at all.

"She was the best big sister I could have hoped for and just sad that I couldn't have let her know that as she died so suddenly," he said.

Clive and Lan with their two children, Hannah and Dan. Picture by Clive Craven-Griffiths

Lan's partner Clive Craven-Griffiths, 60, said he met the love of his life 19 years ago at a meeting of the Sheffield branch of the Youth Hostelling Association.

"Lan and myself seemed to hit it off straight away… Lan was a trier, she was willing to give it a go and see what would happen. More to the point having given it a go we had met up.

"She was a helper, she would help others and it is almost as though she had a life I knew only a little of - quite a few people have contacted me out of the blue and said that they had a great regard for her and knew her well through her voluntary work.

"Unbeknown to us, Lan had weak blood vessels and together with high blood pressure this proved to be a fatal combination. She died a short spell after surgery.

"Always a keen recycler, Lan was keen to donate her organs so that others could benefit, so recycling to the end then.

"Although I was looking forward to doing many things in the future with her, I am more than grateful for what we shared and did in the past,” he said.

Sheffield’s charity Foxhill Forum has also paid a tribute to Lan, who had volunteered with them in 2019.

In a Facebook post, they wrote: "Ella will be remembered for her cheery spirit, thoughtfulness and the warm reception visitors always received from her on visiting the Hub.”

Ben said their 77-year-old mother is ‘extra devastated’ as Lan was her carer too.

Lan and Clive had two children together, Hannah, 13, and Dan, 11, and Lan had another son, Hayden, 26, from her previous partner.

Her funeral will be held at the woodland burial at Wisewood Cemetery in Loxley Valley, June 4 at 12.30pm.

Clive said donations to a charity shop rather than flowers would appeal to Lan.

A memorial page has also been set up and visitors can leave their message in the guestbook.