TRIBUTES have been paid to “social butterfly” Leila, who died aged just six.

Leila Willmott, from Stanway, was born in 2011 with a condition known as CHARGE Syndrome. It was discovered during mum Ellie’s 20 week scan.

Before Leila was born at the Queen Charlotte Hospital, in London, Ellie, 27, was told her daughter was not expected to live a healthy life.

Miss Willmott said: “They knew she had heart problems and advised me to terminate the pregnancy. I said it wasn’t an option.

“She had heart surgery at three-months-old and she had a number of life-threatening episodes with her breathing.

“She has so many operations, she came home from hospital after eight months and kept getting infections.”

CHARGE Syndrome is a complex syndrome and babies with the condition are often born with life-threatening birth defects.

Leila had problems with her breathing and heart, and after a six-year battle she sadly died on Friday.

Miss Willmott said she had been coping well up considering her complex medical needs.

Leila had a tracheotomy a couple of years ago and over the past year she had been able to breathe by herself.

Her mum said: “She has been at Lexden Springs School five days a week. She loved school, she made such an impact on people and would get friendship awards.”

As Leila’s heart condition was so complex, it put a strain on her every day life.

Last year she suffered episodes where her heart rate would reach 300 beats per minute.

Miss Willmott managed to control it with medicine but last Friday Leila’s night carers found her unresponsive.

She was taken to Colchester General Hospital, where staff in A&E tried to revive her but Miss Willmott said she needed to let her daughter go.

She said: “I said enough was enough, it wasn’t fair.

“She fought so hard for six years. She was an amazing and courageous little girl.

“She was one of those people that no matter what she was going through she was always smiling.”

Leila always put others before herself, especially at school.

Ellie said: “If people were feeling rough she would give them a massive cuddle.

“She had a really beautiful way of looking at things, and had an amazing sense of humour.”

Leila also had a close bond with her older brother Cameren, ten.

Miss Willmott added: “She loved doing anything she shouldn’t be doing. She loved being outside on her trampoline.

“She was a social butterfly, and a little tornado of destruction, but in the nicest possible way.”

Miss Willmott wants to raise awareness of the syndrome, but more importantly, wants her daughter to be remembered as a beautiful, loving girl.