'Allow my girl’s final wish’ says mum

A TERMINALLY-ILL 12-year-old Exmouth girl is being denied her final wish - to go to school - because of dawdling council officials.

A TERMINALLY-ILL 12-year-old Exmouth girl is being denied her final wish - to go to school - because of 'dawdling' council officials.

Little Alycia McKee, of Dagmar Road, has Down's Syndrome and pulmonary hypertension and doctors say she is unlikely to see her 13th birthday.

She wants to spend her last days in school but, despite St Luke's in Exeter accepting her, red tape has so far forced her to wait five weeks.

Her Exmothian mum Penni, 34, and her aircraft engineer dad Hoskyns, 41, moved from Surrey back to Exmouth over the summer - so Alycia could be surrounded by her grandparents and cousins in her last days.

The Mckees, who have a son, Rhys, 10, and another daughter, Jasmin, five, filed a school application at the beginning of September, but Penni fears it will not be processed before half-term.

She said: "Alycia probably hasn't got long left. We have been trying to get a school to take her for just a couple of hours a day. In the meantime, she is festering at home, waiting to die, instead of being included in the world where she thrives."

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Penni said there was no way to judge how long Alycia had to live. "Every time she has a cold, I wonder 'is this going to be the day'?" she said.

"She is so happy at school, making friends. It would give her a reason to go on and get up in the morning but, while she is here, her quality of life is slipping away.

"She is my shining star - she should be gone already, but she is so brave.

"We have had to fight for her every step of the way, and there is still so much fight in me, but I worry that, by the time the council get their act together, it will be too late. If it hadn't been for The Journal getting involved, things wouldn't have progressed this far."

A spokesperson for Devon County Council said: "We are extremely sympathetic to the family's desire to progress this application as quickly as possible.

"We are awaiting the necessary paperwork and assessments to be carried out to ensure Alycia has all the support in place to enable her to attend school in safety and comfort.

"We've been working closely with her family to ensure they are kept informed about developments and we have progressed the application as quickly as possible, bearing in mind the considerable amount of care involved in ensuring the needs of a child with such significant disabilities are met.

"We are providing Alycia with alternative education while these arrangements are being put in place.