Heartbroken family and friends gathered in Fleetwood to say goodbye to a brave little girl who loved music, singing, unicorns and the colour pink.
Five-year-old Lana Driver was taken to her funeral at St Nicholas’ Church in a glass carriage fit for a princess, pulled by two white horses yesterday.
The church was filled with people wearing pink and yellow - Lana’s favourite colours - while happy memories of the ‘warrior princess’ were shared.
In a tribute to his daughter, dad Jonathan Howard said: “Lana wasn’t just Lana. She was my princess warrior, my little fighter, and that she will remain. She fought everything life threw at her and took it on the chin with that great big smile on her face.
“I have never understood why you were chosen to bear these conditions with your heart so full of love, a personality bigger than we could ever dream of, a smile so contagious.
“Life is never going to be the same. For many of us, that void will never be filled, although we will always have our memories of Lana.”
Lana, a pupil at Red Marsh School, was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which occurs when the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen fails to properly develop in the womb, and suffered from pulmonary hypertension, a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs.
She died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on October 25, two days after her fifth birthday party.
‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten, ‘Because You Love Me’ by Celine Dion, ‘Over The Rainbow’, and the theme to one of Lana’s old favourite TV shows, Peppa Pig, were played at her funeral.
Helen Houston, chaplain at Brian House Children’s Hospice, said: “You couldn’t help but smile when Lana was around, and we’d always get the most amazing smile in return.
“Lana was a very articulate, sociable and inquisitive little girl. She was Little Miss Chatterbox, Little Miss Sunshine and Little Miss Curious all rolled into one.
“Lana was a little person with a big personality. She’d always have a go. She’d always try whatever came along. Lana loved playing, she loved fiddling, she loved the craft room, she loved the music room, she loved the garden, she loved baking with her Mickey Mouse hat on.
“Lana was a girly-girl. She would love having her fingernails done and her toenails painted, and she’d sit stock still until they were done, and she’s pout and pose when there was a camera about. She had a real confidence about her.
“She defied expectations. She was determined to make her mark on the world.”
Lana’s mum, Susie, said: “From the moment you were born, you were my princess. My heart was filled with so much love and joy.”
She shared happy memories of Lana, including the time the bubbly youngster was taken by horse-drawn carriage down Blackpool Promenade while wearing her Cinderella dress, and waving ‘like the Queen’ to the people passing by.
She also shared Lana’s last birthday at Blackpool Vic, just two days before she died. She said:”I will love you forever, my warrior princess.”
Donations were gathered in Lana’s memory for Brian House and the Ronald McDonald House in Manchester.
Helen said: “Grief is the price we pay for love. If we did not love, we wouldn't grieve. Grief is the price we pay for caring, whether as friends or healthcare professionals. But I’m sure we’d all agree that it’s a price both paying, and we’d pay it all over again.”