The grieving family of 16-year-old Yasmin Houston have confirmed that “our beautiful girl died of a heart attack, brought on by her asthma”.
Yasmin’s aunt, Pippa Sterritt, said, “We are totally devastated by the death of Yasmin. Unfounded rumours have been circulating about the cause of death. The truth is that she suffered a severe asthma attack in her home at Princess Way last Sunday night (November 24) which precipitated the heart attack. There is asthma in the family.
“The ambulance was there very swiftly and the paramedics from Craigavon Area Hospital did all they could to save her. They worked so hard and we are all deeply indebted to them. Yasmin was taken to hospital, but she died during the night. The entire family is devastated. We will never get over it.”
Pippa was speaking on behalf of Yasmin’s mother, Kim Sterritt. Yasmin was Kim’s only child, and the two of them lived at Princess Way. There are two half-siblings, Nikki and Johnny Houston. And the police have also dismissed the rumours.
Said Pippa, Kim’s sister, “We all loved Yasmin to bits. She was so lively, had a very active brain, she was articulate, witty and loved art, sport and science at Craigavon Senior High School where she was a student. She was an excellent communicator and had planned to develop her art and science talents. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.”
Pippa, an arts and drama student at Liverpool University, said that Yasmin would be missed most of all by her mum, by her grandparents Norma and Raymond Sterritt, by Nikki and Johnny, by cousins Jamie Sterritt and Tiffany Wackett, by aunt Maxine Sterritt, and, of course, by Pippa.
Said Pippa, “We are all shattered by the sudden death of Yasmin, and we feel especially for Kim. It’s heart-breaking for any parent to lose a child. But Yasmin was her only child, she was just 16 and that is almost impossible for the extended family to bear.”
The death is also deeply felt at the senior high school, and the family is grateful that so many students and staff from the school attended the funeral. “It was particularly moving that the students were there in uniform,” said Pippa. “We really appreciated that.
“Yasmin was also connected with the Oasis Youth Club and many from there also attended. It was good to see that she was so loved and deeply thought of.”
She added that Yasmin had a mature taste in music, her heroes being David Bowie and John Lennon – “she hadn’t much time for the X Factor syndrome where the singers usually last such a short time”.
Pippa is designing a thank-you card to send to everyone who helped – it’s at the early stages and will include a picture of Yasmin.
The funeral service was at the home of a family friend at Kinnego. Burial was at Ballinahone Cemetery with the services conducted by Rev Peter Gamble.
Donations are to Asthma charities – they can be sent to K.G. Cheevers, Funeral Directors, 28 Dobbin Street, Armagh BT61 7QQ.