Ain’t no mountain high enough for bereaved Kegworth father

A Kegworth father is taking on one of the world’s toughest treks in memory of his daughter who “was never without a smile.”

Ella Small died from multiple organ failure after suffering from Pneumonia in May last year at the age of 22. Ella was born with Epilepsy and Holoprosencephaly, an abnormality of brain development in which the brain doesn’t properly divide into the right and left hemispheres, and had been visiting our hospice for 20 years. 

Now her father, Andy, hopes to raise £10,000 for us by trekking to Everest Base Camp with his friends James Tyler and Sam Tyler.
“Ella was a truly inspirational daughter loved by everyone that got to know her and the absolute linchpin of our family, words really cannot describe the loss we feel,” said Andy. “She was a true fighter, it felt only right that we challenge ourselves to reach Everest Base Camp and raise funds for Rainbows in her memory.

“Rainbows were an absolute saviour to us during those early days following Ella’s passing, on the morning of May 4th, a date that will forever remind us of the heartbreak we felt, and still feel at losing Ella.

“They supported us with the arrangements and provided a familiar and peaceful place for Ella to rest until her funeral. We were able to visit Ella whenever we felt the need and spent some very happy but emotional times saying our goodbyes, and ridiculous as it sounds, enjoying the time we spent with Ella. These times were never easy and involved many tearful moments, through all of this the Rainbows team cared for Ella in such a dignified way and ensured, even as she slept, she was cared for and loved.”

We also provided care, counselling and support for the rest of the family including Ella’s siblings and wider family. 

“Ella wasn’t expected to reach her first birthday. In her life she faced many challenges and personal difficulties with ill health, many intrusive procedures, medication and difficulties experienced by any child with special needs, she was never without a smile on her face,” added Andy. 

“I always say to my other children when they are in a difficult situation – remember what Ella endured and that she is always sat on your shoulder – it certainly seems to help. I will be thinking the same during this challenge and I know Ella will get me through it.”

The day before Ella’s funeral Andy’s Mum, Sally, also passed away. Due to his Mum’s love for Ella and her passionate fundraising efforts for our charity, Andy, James and Sam are also trekking in her memory.

Ali Furlong, Community Fundraiser at Rainbows, said: “We can’t thank Andy, James and Sam enough for what they are doing for us. Ella really was such an inspiration and this is a wonderful thing to do, not only to honour her memory, but also to honour the memory of Andy’s mum, Sally.

“We rely on our supporters at Rainbows to enable us to provide care to young people like Ella and we hope Andy’s story inspires people to get involved with Rainbows, or to sponsor the guys for this incredible challenge.”

To sponsor the team, visit