Little Isla Caton can go pain-free and “have a childhood again in heaven” after her death this week.

That is what her mum, Nicola Caton of Hornchurch, said when paying tribute to her “happy, contented little girl”, adding “the amount of love she brought so many people will last a lifetime”.

Seven-year-old Isla, who suffered from neuroblastoma cancer for much of her childhood, died at roughly 3.15am on Tuesday, January 25.

Nicola said while her daughter’s childhood was “not what we would have wished,” it had been “a different kind of amazing”.

“We crammed 80 years' worth of love into her seven years of life,” Nicola said.

She said the outpouring of condolences from people who had followed her daughter's journey – including West Ham United players – had made the loss more “bearable".

“To see that my small child that spent more time in hospital than anywhere else and has never met any of these people, that she changed their lives.

“What she did will last forever and we will continue to make her proud in everything we do.”

A fundraising page collected more than £80,000 to make “special memories” for Isla, including a recent visit from a 30-foot model dinosaur for the dino-loving girl.

%image(15309181, type="article-full", alt="More than £80k was raised to help make "special memories" for Isla.")

%image(15309182, type="article-full", alt="Isla with parents Michael Hook and Nicola Caton")

In December, the family announced Isla had been given weeks to live, but despite fears she may not live to see Christmas, Isla saw through the holiday period and was still mobile until last Friday.

Nicola said she was “forever grateful” for the six additional weeks they were able to spend together.

Isla, who was born in October 2014, died the early hours of Tuesday while her mother sang her Pal of My Cradle Days, a song which Nicola's own mother had sung her as a child.

“I didn’t even know she had died,” said Nicola. “It was so peaceful. She literally just closed her eyes and fell asleep."

“No pain, no more doctors and nurses being the only people she sees; now she can go and be pain-free and have a childhood again in heaven."

The family will be holding a funeral at South Essex Crematorium in Corbets Tey, Upminster on Friday at 9.20am.

While only family will be allowed inside the crematorium, Nicola said there will be a video link and everyone is welcome to come to the funeral park, so that Isla "goes to her final resting place with nothing but love and responsibility”.

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