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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 20:41 GMT
Family mourn young UK wave victim
Isabella Peatfield
Isabella Peatfield is thought to be the youngest British tsunami victim
A five-year-old girl washed away from her parents on a Christmas break to Sri Lanka is thought to be the youngest Briton killed in the tsunami disaster.

Isabella Peatfield was on a last-minute trip to the island with her parents Kim and Tristan, from Derbyshire, when the wave hit their bungalow.

They were separated and spent two days searching for each other, but Isabella, known as Bellie, did not survive.

The couple described their daughter as "adored by everyone" she met.

Mr and Mrs Peatfield, from Mappleton, near Ashbourne, had been to the island on honeymoon and said their daughter wanted to see the elephants. Her 10-year-old brother Oliver stayed at home for Christmas.

'Found each other'

They were getting ready to go to the national park to see the elephants when their bungalow was hit by two waves, the second forcing them out into a lagoon.

"We tried desperately to stay together but the force of the water separated us," the family said in a statement.

"We eventually found each other after two days of searching. Bellie had been found and sadly did not survive the force of the water.

She was a vivacious little thing, everybody loved her
John Barnard, local pub landlord
"We were later reunited with her and we now mourn the loss of our beautiful daughter."

They added: "Bellie will be very sadly missed. She leaves behind many people who loved her and especially her brother Oliver, who will miss her hugs when going to school and being chased by her.

"Our loss affects the whole of Bellie's family and our friends and we ask that we are able to grieve together in privacy at this time."

Shock

The couple, who praised the kindness of the Sri Lankan people and the British High Commissioner and his wife, returned home to Derbyshire on Friday.

John Barnard, landlord of Mappleton's Okeover Arms pub, said everyone was shocked, adding: "This is a small village, it is like a big family, everybody knows everybody."

"She was a vivacious little thing, everybody loved her, " he said.

The Foreign Office said three Britons have been killed in Sri Lanka following the tsunami.

The Peatfield family added: "We kindly request that should anybody wish to make donations to help with the aid effort of this beautiful island and other affected areas that they are made directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee fund."




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