'She will be dancing with the angels' say Josie King's family as they mark Sunderland girl's 18th birthday
Doves and fireworks have been let off as the loved ones of Josie King mark her 18th birthday.
The Thorney Close youngster died in when she was just 15-years-old after she became ill with Ewing Sarcoma bone cancer, which had developed in one of her legs.
As Josie, who was a keen boxer and loved caring for animals, underwent treatment for the disease, she helped others as they too went through tough times, providing strength for children as they and their families struggled.
This weekend, as they marked her milestone day, her sister Jess and her daughter Josie Rae Robinson, the one-year-old niece she never got to meet, gathered at her memorial spot in Bishopwearmouth Cemetery.
Helped by funeral director Tony Clarke, who supplied doves, Jess and Josie Rae released the birds – one each to represent the two Josies – with the toddler leaving a present for her aunt in her bedroom, which remains untouched.
Josie’s dad John, 53, later let off fireworks, with he and mum Donna Doneathy, 44, and brother Jack, 16, sending thanks to those who have remembered the occasion, as her friends released balloons on the fields off North Moor Lane.
Jess said: "Every girl always dreams about reaching their 18th birthday.
"I’m sure she will be dancing with the angels somewhere. We miss her so much, it doesn’t seem real.
"It definitely is getting harder as time goes on. She should be here with us all.”
As Josie Rae grows Jess says the pair share a striking resemblance – their strong will.
“She would of been the best auntie ever girl would of ever wished for,” added Jess.
“Josie Rae reminds me so much of Josie.
"She has her temper, even the faces she pulls it’s so funny to watch her grow into a little miss madame.
"Josie Rae definitely has her auntie Josie’s personality by far.
"Every time Josie Rae sees Josie’s picture she waves and kisses the photo it’s as though she knows exactly who she is.
"It’s amazing how many people still post their tributes on Facebook and on her page.
"It’s so nice to see Josie is still in people’s thoughts. She surely was a one off.”
Josie’s family continue to post via her Facebook page, Boxer Josie King's fight against cancer, to remember her.