The grief-stricken mother of a six-year-old girl who drowned after falling into a canal today paid an emotional tribute to her “princess”.
Tragic Imie Harrison slipped under the water just beyond the reach of twin brother CJ’s fingertips.
Imie, CJ and two girl pals, also aged six, were playing on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal in Kidderminster, Worcs., when she and another girl fell in at 6.20pm on March 19.
CJ sprinted half-a-mile home to raise the alarm but when paramedics arrived little Imie had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Despite medics performing CPR and heart massage for an hour in the back of an ambulance Imie died shortly after being airlifted to hospital.
Speaking for the first time about the tragedy, Imie’s devastated mother Lisa, 44, revealed she was told about the accident by TEXT.
Lisa had left Imie in the car of her son Sam Taylor, 25, and her daughter Abby, 21, while she went to look after her three horses which she kept at a nearby stables.
She said: “I had picked Imie up from school.
“She was playing out the front with her two friends and at about 4.30pm I left to go to the yard [where she owns three horses].
“I left her with my son Sam and Abby. At about 6.20pm I got a text from Sam saying ‘Please come quick – Imie is face down in the canal.’
“I was driving down to Springfield Park [near the canal] and all the ambulances were there.
“As soon as I saw them, I knew how serious it was – I just blanked out.
“Most of the estate ran down and the paramedics took Imie into the ambulance, trying to revive her.
“They put her in the air ambulance and flew her off. I was totally numb.”
Son Sam added: “CJ ran round to me saying ‘Imie’s dead’.
“I phoned everyone I could – that is when the paramedics came down.”
Lisa also responded to criticism from ghouls on social media who branded her irresponsible for letting her children play by the canal.
She sobbed: “All the kids played out together and everyone knew her out here, down to the people in the chip shop down the road.
“I would ask people not to judge us. Kids are going to be kids.
“People think they were miles away but you can see the canal from outside our house and, for the kids, they are just walking through a little field.
“I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest. I miss the silly little things – it is so hard.
“I wake up in the morning and I expect to see her walk in through my bedroom door. She was really, really lovely. She cared about everybody.
“I sit on the sofa and I expect her to come through the door and sit with me. When I make a cup of tea, I expect her to ask me to pour her one.
“Even at school, from when she first started, Imie was the first one there if someone was upset. She was like everyone’s mother.
“She did have a cheeky, naughty side to her.
“If I told her not to do something, like not to play up the road, you can guarantee she would go up there.
“She wouldn’t let me go and get sweets for her – I had to give her the money so she could get them.
“She loved horses and having her nails done and she looked after her brother CJ as well.”
Family and friends are raising money via Facebook group “Imie Harrison – final ride fund” to have a horse-drawn carriage at her funeral.
Lisa said: “She loved everything about horses.
“We have got three horses and she loved them – she used to go and brush them. She loved ponies so we want that to be her last ride.”