Remembering brave Hannah: ten years on

Hannah Piper.
Hannah Piper.

It is a decade since the world lost ‘a brave little angel’.

Hannah Piper was just 12 when she died from complications following her second open heart surgery.

Darren Jones,Steve Sheldon,Steve Ditch,Mark Ditch and Martyn Piper during their Coast to Coast bike ride in July 2014

Darren Jones,Steve Sheldon,Steve Ditch,Mark Ditch and Martyn Piper during their Coast to Coast bike ride in July 2014

The Cathedral High School pupil, of Thornes, suffered from heart trouble all her life and had pioneering surgery aged just four.

Her dad Martyn, said after her death in November 2005: “Most people don’t go through what she did in a lifetime.

“She was poorly most of her life.”

This week Mr Piper, who is still fundraising for the charity which helped his daughter and his family, said: “She was always smiling, happy – regardless of what pain she was in.

“She never complained.”

Mum Tracy Piper has similar memories of her “happy, fun, bouncy” daughter.

The mum-of-three added: “Even when she was poorly and had a temperature, which was sky-high, she always had a smile for you.”

The couple, both 48, spoke to the Express as they and work colleagues prepared to handover £550 to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

The charity, which supports the Yorkshire heart unit at the Leeds General Infirmary, helps fund equipment and training. It also supports parents with accommodation and travel so they can be near their loved ones.

The fund did just that for the Pipers, who also had to travel to London in the final days of Hannah’s life.

Mr Piper wanted to give something back to the fund which had helped his family in their hour of need.

The money was raised by Mr Piper and four of his colleagues from Symingtons dried food company doing the Coast to Coast bike ride last year.

The money has now been collected and the team hope to present £550 to the fund shortly after Easter.

Mrs Piper said: “We would like to thank all the doctors and staff at St James’s and Killingbeck hospitals in Leeds, St Thomas’s in London and Pinderfields Hospital, plus doctors at the Warrengate Surgery who all helped Hannah.

“We thought it was important to put something back into a fund which has helped us so much, and to give other parents and children a chance for their future.”

A team from Symingtons in Leeds did the Coast to Coast ride in July last year.

The team of Martyn Piper Darren Jones,Steve Sheldon,Steve and Mark Ditch cycled from Whitehaven to Sunderland over three days.

The initial idea was to raise funds for a new football kit for Castleford Town U9s team but the event snowballed and they decided to donate the remaining £550 to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.