A tribute to Aoife O’Connor (1998 – 2012)

An amazing, spirited, selfless, courageous, beautiful and determined young lady, who was loved by all who knew her

14-year old Aoife O’Connor who lived with her parents Mark and Claire and sisters Niamh and Ciara in Rumbush Lane, Dickens Heath, sadly passed away on Sunday 14th October of a brain tumour.

Aoife passed away peacefully, in her sleep, in the arms of her parents. The shock of her death has been felt by not only her family and friends but across the whole of Solihull and beyond.

Aoife  – who many villagers may remember as the ever-smiling owner of the amazing go-kart! -was first diagnosed with a Brain Tumour in November 2011.  She immediately began radiotherapy which finished on 30th December 2011 and she returned to school just five days later, full of determination and enthusiasm.  She never lost her sense of hope that this evil disease could be beaten and her family believe that it was this positive, fighting spirit, together with her Catholic faith and supreme fitness levels as a County Netball player, along with the support from her family and her huge circle of friends that allowed her to achieve so much and she continued to remain active until the few weeks immediately before her death.

On the wall of Aoife’s bedroom, which is plastered with pictures of the people most important to Aoife, is the phrase “Love the life you live, live the life you love” a motto Aoife’s family believe she followed right up to the end, grabbing every opportunity to enjoy her life to the full with her family and friends, whom she adored.

Always a keen baker, inspired by her Nanny Sue and neighbour Jo Kentish, Aoife continued to raise funds for charities despite her illness, raising money for the ‘Special Care Baby Unit’ at the QE Hospital, through a Jubilee cupcake stall at her local street party.  Beautiful handmade birthday cakes/cupcakes were her speciality and countless friends and family members were treated to her stunning creations over the years.

This year Aoife decided she wanted to train to be a coach for her netball club – and achieved her Coaching Certificate and trained Year 6 players for Elmdon Netball Club.  This summer she gained recognition for this by receiving a special award from the club for being an inspiring and courageous role model for her fellow members.

Aoife’s family remember her as an amazing, unique, spirited and loving daughter and sister – confident enough to engage anyone in conversation.  Everyone that knew Aoife immediately warmed to her and loved her infectious personality.  Not only was she beautiful on the outside but also on the inside too, constantly giving advice and support to people that needed help.  Her friends and sisters recall her wicked sense of humour, kind, mothering nature and endless enthusiasm for parties!

Her family would like to thank all of those who have loved Aoife and who have supported her recently, especially the hospital staff; the Solihull district nurses and the Jacey Practice in Dickens Heath; St Peter’s School staff and pupils, Elmdon Netball Club and the community of Dickens Heath, her friends, family – and especially her two beloved sisters.

Aoife’s funeral will be held on Tuesday 23rd October at Olton Friary, followed by a committal at Widney Manor Crematorium and then by a ‘Celebration of her Amazing Life’ .

Mark, Clare, Niamh and Ciara warmly invite everyone who knew and loved Aoife to come along to say farewell to their beautiful daughter and to share with them memories of their amazing Aoife who will never be forgotten. “Rest in peace, Aoife; your spirit lives on through all of the lives you touched and all of the wonderful things you achieved in your short but amazingly compact short life here with us.  A true inspiration!”

“It is only in the darkness we can see the brightest stars”

Aoife’s family are raising funds for Brain Tumour UK  - Aoife’s chosen charity – towards their vital work to provide breakthrough support, information and research on the path to a cure for brain tumours. If you would like to make a donation please visit their Just Giving page.