The parents of an eight-year-old girl who passed away after a battle with cancer last week say they have been “truly overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support.
Dempsey Ballantyne from the Shankill area of Belfast,vdescribed by her friends as a “little star”, was a pupil at Black Mountain Primary School and a member of Shankill Star Flute Band.
The youngster touched many hearts as she fought cancer of the spine over the past three years, inspiring people to raise funds to pay for her treatment.
Last night, Dempsey’s heartbroken parents took to social media to thank all those who had offered their sympathies to the family in the wake of their daughter’s death.
They added that Dempsey’s “final trip down the Shankill Road” would take place on Wednesday.
A service will be held at New Life City Church, Northumberland Street at 1pm, before proceeding to Roselawn Crematorium for 3pm.
The family have asked for those attendng her funeral to dress in “bright rainbow colours”.
People are also being encourged to release lanterns into the night sky tomorrow at 8pm in an act of remembrance for little Dempsey.
Shankill Star Flute Band will also pay its respects to Dempsey in its own special way tomorrow.
A post from the band on Facebook yesterday said: “At 7.30pm the band shall march to the family home were we shall hold a small celebration to commemorate the life of Dempsey. Our tune selection will be of an upbeat nature by the request of the family. It is a celebration after all.”
West Belfast DUP also paid tribute to Dempsey on Facebook, saying: “She will forever hold a place in so many hearts none less so than my own, sleep tight Princess. We pray for the family at this sad time and are sure the whole community will show their support for them.”
Dempsey, who passed away on January 13 in hospital, is survived by her parents Lynn and Robert and siblings Darran, Nathan, Cameron and Jodie.