Dersingham mum pays tribute to daughter

Stephanie Sanpher
Stephanie Sanpher

A mother has paid tribute to her “angel” who died in hospital earlier this week of meningitis.

Joanne Sanpher’s 13-year-old daughter Stephanie collapsed on Friday and died on Tuesday from bacterial meningitis.

Hunstanton Smithdon High School pupil Stephanie, who suffered from epilepsy, collapsed at her Dersingham home. She was taken to QEH and later transferred to Addenbrookes

Joanne, 36, said: “We loved her so much. She was absolutely our world. She was the most kind and understanding girl.

“She never judged anybody, was just an angel and no trouble.

“She was one of those girls that everybody loves. She could go into a room full of strangers and they would immediately take to her.”

Stephanie’s brother Alex, 10, said his sister was “always helpful and played games” with him.

Yesterday Jon Goodchild, headteacher at the Hunstanton secondary school said: “Stephanie was a kind and caring girl. Staff and pupils remember her beautiful singing voice and really valued her friendship; she was often the one who would bring a smile to friends’ faces when they needed cheering up, and try to make things better.

“We are all so very sad and our thoughts are with Stephanie’s family; we can only offer them our most sincere sympathy, love and support.”

Norfolk County Council Critical Incident Team is at the school helping to support staff and pupils.

Dr Giri Shankar, consultant in Communicable Disease Control at Public Health England Anglia and Essex said:“Our thoughts are with the family and those who knew the young pupil. Parents of children at the school have been advised they are not at an increased risk as a result of this case and should not be absent from school.

“However, it is important for everyone to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis, particularly in young children. If you notice any of these, seek medical advice straight away.”

Symptoms include high temperature, vomiting, severe headache, a stiff neck, aching limbs and joints, a dislike of bright lights along with drowsiness and a purple rash, which does not fade when pressed.

Meningococcal bacteria are common – about 10 per cent of the population carry them in the back of the nose or throat without causing harm.

If you would like to pay tribute to Stephanie email