‘It’s the last thing I could do for Isabel’

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A beautiful headstone for Bridlington’s little superstar now stands proud thanks to two anonymous benefactors.

Isabel Annakin defied doctors who said she wouldn’t live to see her fourth birthday after she was diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy aged two.

The disease left her unable to speak, walk or even swallow and she sadly passed away, aged 10, in June last year.

Devoted father Neal, who gave up work to become Isabel’s full time carer, spent all his money on giving his daughter the best funeral possible but he had no funds left for a headstone.

Neal said: “Who ever met Isabel was a better person for doing so. To go through what she did and still smile at the end of it all makes you think ‘what have we got to complain about in life?’

“It just doesn’t bear thinking about, burying your child. Words don’t come close to explain the void in my heart and my life, thats why this memorial had to be special as it was the last thing I could do for my beautiful little girl.”

A £1,000 donation was anonymously posted through Neal’s letter box with a message that read ‘towards your daughter’s headstone’.

This kickstarted funds and family donations and fundraising left the father £1,600 short of the “beautiful” headstone they hoped to order.

Another anonymous benefactor then contacted J.W.Myers Monumental Masons directly and paid the outstanding amount.

Grandmother Pat Toft said: “We are so thankful to the two benfactors. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without them.”

The headstone incorporates a butterfly which symbolises the MLD charity which supported them.

Metachromatic leukodystrophy affects the growth and development of myelin, the fatty covering which acts as an insulator around nerve fibres throughout the body.

Neal spent hours researching his daughter’s rare condition. After contacting a family in America he discovered a drug that wasn’t used in Britain to treat Isabel.

Propranolol is a beta blocker that is normally used to treat hypertension and angina. Doctors agreed to start Isabel on the drug and Neal feels this was a big factor in prolonging her life.