Family's tribute to a special daughter

Happy and active Hannah Turbeville was only seven-and-a-half when her heart stopped suddenly and unexpectedly during a family holiday.

This week, following an inquest into her death, her devastated parents haven spoken about Hannah whom they described as a vibrant, sporty and caring young girl with a zest for life.

Hannah died from a heart arrhythmia in February while enjoying a skiing trip to France with parents Katy and Chris, twin sister Lucy and older brother Oliver aged nine.

Shortly after returning from a family meal and going to bed, her parents heard her being ill and dashed into her room to find her unresponsive.

A paramedic team who arrived shortly afterwards confirmed she was dead.

Her mother Katy, of Fairmead Avenue, Harpenden said: “Hannah was a very special person to her family and friends and her lovely smile touched everyone she met. Although her life was cut short, she made her mark with everyone she came into contact with.”

Although Hannah was born prematurely at 36 weeks with congenital heart disease and had a pacemaker to control an irregular heartbeat, she was very fit and active and her death came as a complete shock.

Katy said: “The condition had never held her back. She enjoyed football, cycling, horse riding, Brownies – and she skied for a whole week before she died and very well. She was a very strong character and very determined.”

Hannah visited hospital for regular monitoring and the doctors who knew her were also very shocked when they learnt about her death.

Katy said: “Despite all the screening they were still so surprised when we made the call. They said that so many children go through there and Hannah was not one of them who was supposed to die.”

Hannah was a pupil at Grove Junior School in Harpenden where she had many friends and enjoyed a range of sports and playing the piano.

Her other interest included animals, particularly dogs, and she spent a lot of time at the family’s allotment, gardening and playing.

Hannah’s popularity was shown when more than 350 family and friends packed into St John’s Church in Harpenden for her memorial service.

Her parents have thanked all their family and friends for their help and support since Hannah’s death and now wish to raise awareness of cardiac risk in her memory to draw somet5hing positive from the tragedy.

Their chosen charity is Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), which can be found on and supports research into sudden cardiac deaths and provided funds to coroners to carry it out.

The family would welcome any donations to CRY in tribute to Hannah and this can be done through their just giving page on which allows people to gift aid their donations so the charity gets an extra 28 per cent.

Recording a verdict of death from natural causes, Herts. Coroner Edward Thomas said at the inquest last Thursday that nothing could have been done to revive her.