FAMILY and friends of a 'happy-go-lucky' teenager have paid tribute to her after she died of a rare illness.

Keighley Naomi Clare passed away at Derian House last Friday, aged 15.

The former Rumworth High School pupil had been battling MELAS (Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes) syndrome most of her life.

MELAS is caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA and mostly affects the nervous system and muscles.

Paying tribute to her, Keighley's step dad Baz Iddon said: "She has made such an impact on my life in the four years that I've been her step dad.

"She was such a strong character and strong soul, she was absolutely unreal. She was so happy considering all the problems she had. She never ever was without a smile.

"She was happy-go-lucky, full of beans, and loved going for a pub lunch - her favourite was Hunter's chicken.

"She was such a home girl. As soon as she got home she'd be in her pyjamas and dressing gown. So for the funeral, we're making sure everyone comes in their pyjamas.

"Eight weeks ago she was sat at home on the couch singing along to Grease because she loved her musicals. We just didn't see it coming. It's been absolutely tragic."

A GoFundMe page has been set up by family friend Emma Tomlinson, to try and raise funds for a wake.

She said: "She was amazing, such a gentle girl. She went to primary school with my children so I've watched her grow."

So far, more than £780 has been raised, including one donation of £375 from someone not personally known to the family.

Mr Iddon added: "I honestly can't thank Emma enough. We have so much respect for her doing that.

"Somebody we don't even know donated £375. I'd love to say thank you because they must have such a kind heart. It's a massive donation."

To donate, visit