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Ilford MP Mike Gapes devastated over death of daughter, 19

PUBLISHED: 13:08 18 May 2012 | UPDATED: 16:43 18 May 2012

MP Mike Gapes whose daughter died last week

MP Mike Gapes whose daughter died last week

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Devastated Ilford MP Mike Gapes spoke today of his shock over the sudden death of his 19-year-old daughter Rebecca.

Rebecca was found dead in her room in her student house in Canterbury, Kent, last Thursday afternoon. Her death is being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious and an inquest will be held.

Ilford South Labour MP Mr Gapes told the Recorder today he had been on a trip to Australia in his capacity as member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and had been woken by police in Canberra on Friday morning to tell him the shock news.

“I spoke to her on Monday night and exchanged Twitter messages, but then I noticed on Wednesday she had tweeted she was feeling ill,” said Mr Gapes.

“This is so difficult for me. Rebecca was an articulate, intelligent and caring young woman. She was very happy at University and doing really well. Rebecca was not just my daughter she was my best friend.

“I have dealt with people who have been bereaved but until something awful like this happens to you, you can never understand how it feels.”

Rebecca had attended Christchurch Primary School, Wellesley Road, Ilford, before going to Hainault Forest High, Harbourer Road, Hainault and then studying for her A-levels at Wanstead High, Redbridge Lane West, Wanstead.

She sang with Redbridge Music School and was studying for a degree in American Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Mr Gapes added: “The last time I saw her was on her birthday last month when I drove her back to university. We had gone shopping in Canterbury and I had bought her loads of things for her room.”

A funeral will be held at 3pm on June 1 at Forest Park Cemetery and Crematorium, Hainault. Only close family are asked to send flowers, others may send donations to the Friends of Redbridge Music School, c/o Co-operative Funeral Care 215 Manford Way Chigwell Essex IG7 4DJ

A message of condolence was sent to Mr Gapes and his family by Mayor Cllr Muhammed Javed during a full meeting of Redbridge Council last night and the chamber stood for a minute’s silence.

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