Parents of girl who died of brain aneurism aged 13 publish her private diaries

 

The parents of a 13-year-old schoolgirl who died from a brain aneurism have published her private diaries.

Jemima Layzell collapsed suddenly at home in Horton in Somerset and later died in hospital having suffered a massive bleed on her brain in March last year.

She had previously expressed a wish for her organs to be donated and they were used to save the lives of eight others, as well as the sight of three people.

After her death, Jemima's parents Harvey, 44, and Sophy Layzell, 39, discovered her private diaries, which she started writing aged four, in her bedside cabinet.

Jemima had dreamed of becoming a writer when she grew up, so her parents decided to try to publish the diaries.

Her writing has now been made into a book, called The Draft, which has attracted praise from distinguished children's authors Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo.

Mr Layzell, a photographer, said the family wanted to raise awareness of organ donation and children hearing voices through the book.

He said: "We are exceedingly proud seeing Jemima's own words in print especially as most of it has never been read during her lifetime.

"Sharing her private thoughts could be thought of as quite invasive but we decided to publish Jemima's diaries not just because she was so talented but also to raise awareness of such things as hearing voices.

"As a daughter she was diligent, conscientious and always strived to make us so proud. She was gifted creatively and enjoyed analysing and questioning the world around her.

"She loved playing make believe with her sister and her favourite thing was hanging out with her friends."

Jemima's sister, Amelia, 12, will receive half of profits from The Draft, with the rest going towards setting up a charitable trust in her name.

The teenager collapsed at home without warning during evening preparations for Mrs Layzell's 38th birthday party on March 10 last year.

She lost consciousness and was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton in Somerset, and later transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

Jemima, who attended Taunton School, died at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children at 4.28pm on March 14.

She had previously expressed a wish for her organs to be donated and they saved the lives of two five-year-old boys, a 14-year-old girl, a ten-month old boy, a three-and-a-half year old boy, two people aged 19 and 24, and a 40-year-old man.

Three people have also had their sight saved.

Jemima's book, The Draft, went on sale on May 21 - what would have been her 15th birthday.

It begins: "This diary belongs to Jemima Elizabeth Layzell. If I were a fairy I'd be called Lizzy Stardust."

The intimate diaries share her thoughts about love, friendship and the future - with her secret wish "for someone to really, really like me for who I am".

One extract reads: "Some people say that God can't exist because if he did he would help all the poor people in the world. I object to that.

"I feel their despair but WE have to help them. They are there because we did this to them.

"They are there because we have a wrong to right. They are there to stop us from turning into complete monsters before it's too late."

Mr Morpurgo, author of War Horse, said: "We all have our stories to tell. This is Jemima's first and last and because of that so important to all of us who read it now. This is her life."

Ms Wilson also said: "I think it's the most beautiful, touching, heart-breaking book. It must be devastating to lose such a wonderful, talented child, but clearly this precious book is one way that she will live on in everyone's hearts."

The Draft is available from Amazon and selected Waterstones stores.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Books
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'