Family appeal for people to wear pink to celebrate brave Holly
4 years ago
The family of Liverpool teenager Holly Smallman, who died last Friday, are asking people to wear pink in her memory after coronavirus restrictions ruined plans for a celebration of her life.
Holly was just 18-years-old and from Fazakerley, she featured on the current BBC Hospital series, had a number of life-limiting complex conditions including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, chronic lung disease, and osteoporosis.
She died peacefully at home and her family and friends had hoped to be able to get together and pay a fabulous tribute to the brave girl who touched so many lives.
But social distancing advice from the government put an end to their plans, leaving them with the heartbreaking prospect of laying her to rest in a near-empty crematorium.
Now, determined not to let Holly go without some kind of celebration, they’ve decided instead to ask everyone to wear pink on the day of her funeral – next Friday, March 27 – in her honour.
Holly’s auntie, Rachel Sinclair, told The Guide Liverpool: “Holly wasn’t sick, she wasn’t in hospital, it was just a normal day last Friday. Her dad put her to bed, she fell asleep and didn’t wake up. We said from day one, when we were given the gift of Holly, that she would decide when she’d had enough and she did.
“But obviously, with everything that’s going on, it’s been even more horrendous. It was like our world fell apart on Friday and then the world fell apart as well.
“We were planning to have the biggest celebration at the Isla Gladstone, a princess procession, red carpet, everything, because we wanted her to have the most amazing day but now we can’t even get the coffin we wanted. We wanted a pink one but we that’s not possible now so we have to decorate our own, covered in memories and butterflies and all the things she’d love.
“We wanted her to go in a horse and carriage, not a black hearse, so we’re just praying that can still happen. But the reality is, we’re trying to organise a funeral and we’re not even sure we’ll be allowed to go in.
“We’re going to Anfield crematorium but we don’t know how many people we can have there, and obviously we’re aware we’ve got a social responsibility to people who might have wanted to come, elderly relatives and also a lot of Holly’s friends who are ill. But we don’t even know if the people who aren’t in at-risk categories will be able to come even if we stick to the distancing.
“It’s all the things that when you’re burying your daughter you shouldn’t have to be thinking about.”
Rachel says with so much uncertain, they decided to do the one thing they could control – have as many people as possible wear pink for Holly on Friday 27th.
“We had a bit of a brainstorm as a family because we wanted to make the best of a really horrible situation and we came up with the idea of giving everyone something really simple they could do for Hol, even if they weren’t able to leave the house.
“We’ve created the hashtag #wearpinkforHol, lots of people have been sharing it, so it’s a way we can still do something positive for Hol.”
Holly’s condition meant she needed round-the-clock care at home from mum Hayley and dad Gary, along with brother Josh and sister Ruby, supported by Rachel and a community nursing team. She was supported by specialists at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and also went to Claire House Hospice for treatment and respite care.
Rachel says they’re hoping to have a party for Holly once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, but in the meantime they’re asking everyone to upload videos and share photos of themselves in pink, with the #wearpinkforHol hashtag.
“Later in the year, we’re going to have the biggest celebration and we’ll show all the photos and videos and it’ll be nice for Hayley and Gary to know that even though people can’t be there on Friday, there were so many people with them in spirit and thinking of them.
“People have been so kind, it shows how lovely they are, even in these times of uncertainty for everybody.”