Poppy-Mai dies in her parents’ arms at just 17 months old

Sammi and Poppy-Mai Barnard ANL-160405-173137001

Sammi and Poppy-Mai Barnard ANL-160405-173137001

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The Thetford toddler with cancer who captured the nation’s heart when she came second in a poll to name a ship has died.

Poppy-Mai Barnard died, aged 17 months, in her parents Sammi and Andy’s arms on Tuesday.

Mr Barnard posted on Facebook: “Poppy-Mai Indi Barnard, our beautiful princess grew her angel wings this afternoon at 13.16.

“She was in my arms with her mummy stroking her head. I miss her already. Our Princess is now at peace.

“I thought it was the right thing to do to let all of you special people know. Thank you all for travelling on our journey with us.”

Mr Barnard has started a fund to create a ‘sanctuary where sick children can stay with their family in their need of respite’.

The family’s Go Fund Me page also says: “I am also aiming to set up the Poppy-Mai trust for children with rare cancers and help raise awareness for the smaller charities involved that make this journey a bit more comfortable.”

In a month the online appeal has raised £43,520 and it jumped by about £10,000 in the 24 hours after her death,

Poppy had progressive malignant rhabdoid tumour which had spread around her body and to her brain.

RRS Poppy-Mai attracted 39,886 votes in the Natural Environment Research Council’s Name Our Ship poll, coming second out of around 7,000 suggestions, with only the joke RRS Boaty Mcboatface receiving more support with 124,109 votes.

You can donate to the fund at www.gofundme.com/poppy-mai