Topsham's tragic Lily's spirit lives on through selfless gifts
PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 June 2016
A young Topsham rugby player who died after being injured in a tackle is helping others as her life-saving legacy lives on.
Lily Partridge, 22, carried two organ donor cards and, after her death, she helped save the lives of three young adults and a middle-aged person.
Now the young zookeeper’s family has raised more than £20,000, which has been distributed between some of Lily’s favourite causes – much of the money was raised at a charity auction after global band Coldplay donated a guitar and signed memorabilia.
The Devon Air Ambulance tRUST has received more than £7,000, plus an extra £1,000 raised by the Devon Rugby Football Union - the air ambulance was involved in trying to save Lily following the incident at North Tawton, Devon, last December, when she suffered the fatal head wound during a county training match.
Another £7,000 was donated to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital’s intensive care unit, where she was cared for until her life support machine was switched off.
More than £5,000 was donated to the Shaldon Wildlife Trust charity in south Devon, where Lily worked as a zookeeper.
Picnic tables, with a plaque about Lily, were donated to the zoo, TO Doddiscombsleigh Primary School, near Exeter, where she worked as a teaching assistant, and TO the Exonian RFC at Topsham, where she was a founder member and played in the front row, having taken up rugby 18 months previously.
Her proud parents, Jeff and Liz, said: “She has given all her life with her love of animals and children, and she is still giving after her death.
“That was Lily all over – selfless.
“She has given the gift of life to several people. And now the money raised from a charity night at her rugby club and donations from her funeral mean that other people can benefit via the Devon Air Ambulance charity and the intensive care unit at our local hospital.
“We would like to thank everyone who donated and who helped raise such a large amount of money. And we especially want to thank Chris Martin and Coldplay for everything they donated to us which helped to make so much at the charity auction.”
The couple, from Exeter, added: “We must thank everyone because we had so much help from so many different people and organisations.
“People were so generous from Coldplay, Darts farm, Topsham RFC, Judi Spiers and Chunky Monkey who made the picnic tables at a special rate for us.
“And also thanks go to Show of Hands, who are putting on a special charity concert in Lily’s memory in September at the Corn Exchange in Exeter. We will let everyone know more about that in good time.”
A spokeswoman for the Devon Air Ambulance said: “The funds raised in Lily’s memory will be a lasting legacy.”
She said the donations following ‘the sad and untimely death of Lily Partridge’ would be spent on extra spotlights, enhanced mapping, night vision goggles and, potentially, a night vision camera system when the service extends its flying hours to midnight, all year round, from the autumn.
A spokeswoman for Shaldon Wildlife Trust said the money would be used to ‘greatly improve the visitor experience’.
She said: “We are so grateful to all those who have so generously donated and for the tremendous generosity they have shown the Trust after such a dreadful tragedy.”