19/12/2014 07:28 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dead Girl, 10, Sends Family Christmas Presents From Beyond The Grave


A grieving family have started receiving Christmas gifts – from their late 10-year-old daughter.

Lily-Mae McKinstry, died of brain cancer last month. But unbeknown to her family, she spent her final days buying her relatives presents online using her dad's credit card.

And her amazing gifts from beyond the grave have brought comfort to Lily's heartbroken parents, Vicki and Andrew, and her 12-year-old brother, Ethan.

Lily, from Chelmsford, Essex, lost her battle with a rare and terminal brain tumour last month.

Vicki, 42, told her local paper: "When Lily passed away both me, Andrew and her big brother Ethan, were all left completely devastated.

"Our whole world came crashing down, we were making plans and expected Lily to be around for Christmas.

"After she died we were sorting out her things and were so shocked when we saw Andrew's credit card details in her notebook - but when we chased it up the penny dropped. Our beautiful, special girl had brought us all surprise Christmas presents.

"Now every few days we are receiving packages in the post, it's really emotional when we open them but it's also so comforting. Lily was so thoughtful and organised, I know how happy this would've made her."

Andrew, 48, said: "So far we have received bandanas in all of our favourite colours - Ethan loves wearing them, so she knew he'd appreciate the gift.

"She's also sent a chicken costume for Ethan which was a funny surprise and completely shows her sense of humour, and also some books.

"A really special gift was a Build-A-Bear teddy bear which we were going to bury with Lily, but after her big brother saw it he wanted to keep it to remind him of her."

He added: "We could never be mad at Lily for paying for our presents on my credit card, she was so clever and it's amazing seeing what gifts she wanted to get us.

"We even found thank you cards addressed to everyone she cared for.

"We don't know what gifts we'll receive or when, but every single one is a really special present from Lily."

Vicki added: "It's helping us get through Christmas without her, it makes it feel like she's still with us in some way.

"Lily just loved this time of year - she still believed in Santa Claus, and we couldn't wait to spend this Christmas with her as we thought it would be her last one.

"The presents are made even more special because we know how excited Lily would have been to give them to us."

Lily was diagnosed with Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) - an extremely rare and terminal brain tumour – in May this year. After intensive bouts of radiotherapy, the family were told the tumour was continuing to grow.

Her mum said: "Lily fought so hard but in the end she couldn't stop it from claiming her life.

"We found a note in her bedroom after she had passed away, which we know she had written after her radiotherapy because of her handwriting.

"The note said that if she was to pass away young she wanted her iPad to go to her dad, her laptop to go to her brother, her favourite mannequin to me, her clothes to go to poor children and any money to go towards her funeral.

"That was just the kind of girl she was, so kind and caring."

Vicki's parents are now raising money for the Havens Hospices and want to raise awareness of DIPG.

They are also determined to complete Lily-Mae's 16-point bucket list.


1. World Peace.

2. Wheelchair access at every underground station in London - Boris Johnson her a sent letter and video message.

3. Meet famous people including, Simon Cowell, cast of Modern Family, Dani Harmer from Tracy Beaker, Jamie Oliver, the bands The Vamps and 5 Seconds of Summer and Olly Murs and Dermot O'Lear from the X Factor.

4. Meet Jacqueline Wilson and have her write a book about Lily - Received personalised letter.

5. Hot air balloon ride - Uncompleted but will hopefully be done in Lily's honour.

6. Her 'cat' video to be shown on the Talk Talk sponsor trailer for X Factor - It was made but not aired.

7. A holiday - The family went to Butlins.

8. Adopt an animal - The family hope to do so as soon as possible.

9. Visit Florida - Unfortunately, Lily was too ill to go on a planned trip.

10. Helicopter ride - Completed.

11. Horse and carriage ride - Lily's coffin was carried by horse and carriage.

12. Trip to a chocolate factory - A family member is going to complete in the New Year.

13. Stay at a Premier Inn - To be completed.

14. Stay at a posh hotel with two baths side by side and room service - Fulfilled.

15. See the stage show Matilda - The family hope to go in Lily's honour in the New Year.

16. A hot tub in the garden with a zebra for company - The family arranged the hot tub for Lily but said they struggled to find a zebra.

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