Rugby family’s grief eased by kind strangers after losing their five-year-old daughter

Jessica-Lily's family
Jessica-Lily's family

A family left grieving for their daughter and facing losing their home have been overwhelmed by the offers of help to ease their financial plight.

Joni Luntley and James Platt were full-time carers for their daughter Jessica-Lily who died aged five last month.



From birth she had suffered from severe epilepsy, chronic lung disease and severe global developmental delay.

Jessica was not able to walk or speak, was tube fed, could barely move and on four occasions the parents were told she might not survive the night.

Joni, aged 33, and James, aged 36, had their grief compounded by money worries – the Disability Living Allowance of £600 a month paid so they could provide 24-hour care ended, which helped pay the rent and household bills.

The couple, who have a son called Jimi, did not want to inquire about what would happen on their daughter’s death in case it “tempted fate”.

Joni said: “We presumed there would be some sort of bereavement payment like there is if someone loses their husband or wife, but there is nothing. To lose your precious child after being their carers for almost six years and then expected to start work immediately is unthinkable.”

But help came from her “amazing sister” Kirsty, also of Hillmorton, who decided to set up a gofundme page, where people have promised money for the family at

Now more than £4,200 has been promised to ease their worries and let them grieve.

“Before the page was created James and I were panicking about where we were going to be living. I was incredibly anxious that unless we found a job immediately we would have no choice but to move with just having lost our little angel Jessica.

“We would like everyone to know how grateful we are. It’s not just the donations, it’s the genuine care in people’s messages. We will never forget this.

“Jessica was a very special and amazing little girl, always defeating the odds. On the day she left us James and I fought and fought to keep her. We gave her bag and mask, mouth-to-mouth, intrusive suction, everything. We so desperately wanted her to stay but it was her time and we had to watch her slip away. We are all going to miss her so much – she was everything to us.”