THE family of a 15-year-old girl who died in a canoeing tragedy in the Scottish Borders said she was the happiest she had ever been at the time she died.
Ellice Murray was in a double kayak with her dad, Fraser, 44, on the River Tweed when it overturned on Monday, with brother Ben, 17, nearby.
Tragically she was just out of their reach and her body was recovered later that day from the water near Kelso.
Ellice shared a kayak with her dad as autism made her clumsy, but she loved taking part in the lockdown hobby the family took up last year.
She was due to enrol on a horticulture course after being ‘flexischooled’ for years by her mum, Kirstin, 45, and also worked in her parents’ plastic-free shop and cafe.
Dad-of-three Fraser said: “She was literally just out of reach.
“We have got back into kayaking, last summer we got some kayaks as a lockdown hobby to do together.
“Ellice was autistic, her processing was slightly different. We started her with a tandem for cycling, part of her autism made her quite clumsy.
“She was on a double kayak which enabled her to take part fully. It could have been Ben or me.”
She was just into life, she was effervescent and sparkling
The family, from Kelso, said Ellice died at the happiest time in her life.
Kirstin added: “Her anxieties had come down and she was having so much fun.”
Her parents described how Ellice had a unique view of life and was passionate about the environment, with an enthusiasm for planting.
She had cut her own hair and dyed it with bright colours, and was delighted not to be facing the prospect of exams.
In February last year, she had undergone major surgery to put titanium plates in her back to help with scoliosis, and the Friday before she died had been signed off by a consultant.
Fraser said: “She was just into life, she was effervescent and sparkling. She worked in our shop – we told her it was her shop.
“She just wanted to serve people and answer their questions, you could see people were not entirely sure it was going okay but 99 per cent of the time it did.
“The people in the community were incredibly gracious to her, she was such a kind wee girl.”
Kirstin added: “She had begun planning ideas for planting our garden, she was really into the environment.
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“She felt like ‘we have to change the way we live so I’m going to do it now’. She embodied what she believed.
“I’m so sorry she’s not coming home.
“Her brother was saying she couldn’t have been more whole at this point in her life. She was as happy as she had ever been, which is a consolation.”
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