Tributes paid to 'happy and giggly' woman who died aged 23

Girl in wheelchair wearing sunglasses

Kristel Middleton, described as "happy and giggly", died suddenly aged 23 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY 

The mother of a former Clare School pupil has paid tribute to her “happy and giggly” daughter who died suddenly aged 23. 

Stephanie Booty, of Costessey, Norwich, described her daughter, Kristel Middleton, as being much-loved and said she will be "missed every day and always remembered with a smile".

Family portrait of four

Kristel Middleton, pictured with mum, Stephanie Booty, and brothers (left to right) Leo and Thomas - Credit:  SUPPLIED BY FAMILY 

Kristel was born on December 21, 1996, with choreoathetoid cerebral palsy, a movement disorder caused by damage to the developing brain. 

She was adult-dependant and had a team of six carers who assisted her daily, including lifelong best friends Jim and Jane Looker. Kristel would often spend weekends with the couple on respite at their home, as well as on holidays in Yorkshire together with her family. 

Ms Booty said: “Kristel was non-verbal, but we knew how she was feeling through her facial expressions.

“She enjoyed spending time with her family, and alongside her care team. We were like one big family. Her carers became our friends. 

Two young children together

Kristel Middleton, pictured with her brother Thomas when they were children - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY 

“Although she was registered blind, she could hear exceptionally well and loved listening to musicals. Her favourites were Annie and Mamma Mia. She just used to love them and she never got fed up of listening to them.”

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Kristel would visit theatres across the region, including Norwich Theatre Royal and the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft, to watch shows and pantomimes. 

“We would go wherever there was a show she would love," Ms Booty added.

Headshot of Kristel Middleton

"Happy and giggly" Kristel Middleton - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY 

Kristel also enjoyed spending time outside, especially in the garden at the Lookers' home where she loved to sit out in the sun. 

She attended The Clare School in Norwich for 17 years, as well as The Hamlet Centre, which she “absolutely loved”. 

Kristel is reunited with her sister Amber, who was born with the same condition and died aged 16 in 2009. She will be missed by her brothers Leo and Thomas. 

Sisters sitting in their wheelchairs

(Right to left) Kristel Middleton, pictured with sister Amber - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY 

Kristel died suddenly on December 15, 2020, after being admitted to hospital. Her funeral took place on January 13 at St Faith's Crematorium in Horsham St Faith.

After the restrictions are lifted, the family plan on having a celebration of her life  

Donations in Kristel's memory can be made payable to The Hamlet Centre or The Clare School and sent to Harveys Funeral Home, 1 Norwich Road, New Costessey, Norwich, NR5 0EA.