17-year-old Darlington girl dies after being born with Spina Bifida

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TRIBUTES have poured in after the death of a “much-loved” 17-year-old girl from Darlington who was “always smiling.”

Abiagael Muttrie had Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus, a condition she had had since birth, and passed away from a pulmonary embolism on Sunday, May 22 after a 13-day stint in hospital.

Her condition meant she had limited mobility and used a walking frame to get about, nevertheless, Mark Muttrie, Abiagael’s father, described his daughter as being sunny and positive.

Mr Muttrie said: “She was always smiling, always happy, just such a happy, sweet girl.

“She was enjoying college and she had four sisters so I was definitely outnumbered.”

The Northern Echo: Abiagael Muttrie. Picture: MARK MUTTRIEAbiagael Muttrie. Picture: MARK MUTTRIE

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He recalled a time when Abiagael was poorly when she was 19-months-old and when a ventilator tube was removed, she said the word “Dad.”

Mr Muttrie said: “Back then, when she recovered a little, I asked her what she wanted to do and she said she wanted to go to Balamory. I’ve got loads of memories but that’ll stick in my mind.”

As a former pupil at Beaumont Hill Academy in Darlington, the school put a touching tribute on its Facebook page.

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It read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of one of our treasured former pupils – Abiagael Muttrie. We will remember Abiagael for many of her lovely qualities but mostly for her grit and determination in maintaining her independence.

“Mobility must have been such a challenge for her posing barriers that we probably can’t even comprehend, yet she embraced the challenge to stay active enjoying impressive sessions in the hydrotherapy pool and battling away on her Kaye Walker (walking frame), always with a smile! She was so happy in the water.

“We will remember that when days are tough, to roll up our sleeves, stop grumbling and channel a bit of Abiagael. Our love and thoughts are with Abiagael’s family at this sad time.”

Abiagael was studying the Next Steps course at Darlington College, a programme for learning life skills, as well as developing English and maths.

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A spokesperson for Darlington College, who taught Abiagael, described her as happy, courageous and much-loved.

“She was such a gorgeous person, really lovely, always smiling and determined to join in with everything she could,” she said.

“She was loved by staff and students, some of who she had grown up with, others she had made friends since coming to college. Staff and students are all so upset and will be attending the service.

“In the summer we are planning to develop a memorial garden at college using plants with her name.”

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Nickie Muttrie, Abiagail’s mother took to Facebook to ask people attending the funeral to wear bright colours in memory of her daughter.

A crowdfunding page was set up to help with funeral costs and any money leftover will go towards a memorial at Beaumont Hill Academy.

Anyone wishing to donate, can do so by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-abiagael-muttrie?qid=dab68e16cd159326044af824405316d6

The funeral service will take place on Wednesday, June 8 at Darlington Crematorium on Carmel Road North at 10am.

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