'Beautiful inside and out': Tributes to Maidstone dancer Ellis Powell, 21, after sudden death
by Anna White
A shining young starlet has taken her final bow aged just
Ellis Powell, of Grove Green, Maidstone, died suddenly
after an epileptic seizure.
She had suffered with the condition since she was two and
controlled it with help from doctors, but had been unwell in recent
The former Cornwallis Academy pupil - who dreamed of being
on the West End stage - was in the final year of a three-year
musical theatre course at Mandy Ellen Performing Arts College, in
The untimely passing of Ellis, pictured right, on Wednesday last
week has prompted heartfelt tributes.
College principal Mandy stressed Ellis – her "top
student" – never let the illness hold her back.
"Ellis was so talented," she said. "When she performed, you just
couldn't take your eyes off her.
"Her dream was to be in the West End and she would have made it.
She was beautiful inside and out, and had an amazing career ahead
Tutors said she excelled in all subjects, but shone the
brightest in tap class.
Her ambition after graduation was to secure a part in a classic
musical such as Singin' in the Rain – her favourite show.
In addition to her studies, Ellis - who was voted head girl
in 2011 - also taught technique at the college to pupils aged
between eight and 16.
Maidstone dancer Ellis
Powell, who has died suddenly, on stage
She attended classes last Tuesday just hours before she was
admitted to Maidstone Hospital. She died in the early hours of
Ellis's mother and stepfather, Sharon and Neil Cole, visited the
college to her devastated friends and tutors.
Mandy said: "They have shown tremendous strength, as have the
"She was intelligent, graceful, highly motivated but above all stunningly beautiful..." – Ellis Powell's stepfather Neil Cole
We truly are a
family and we have lost someone who we all loved so much.
"We're all shocked by what has happened and there is no doubt
that Ellis was be sorely missed by everyone. We will make sure she
is always remembered and ensure her family are part of ours."
Neil, who has been married to Ellis's mother Sharon for 19
years and played an important part in raising Ellis and her elder
brother Tom, paid tribute to Ellis.
He said: "I have watched Ellis in awe as she refused time
after time to let her epilepsy dictate the paths she took in
"She was intelligent, graceful, highly motivated but above all
"I am heartbroken, as is her mum, brothers and sister. With all
my love Ellis, Dad Neil."
The couple have two other children, Emily and Harry.
Tributes have been paid
to Ellis Powell, from Maidstone, who died suddenly
A book of remembrance has been opened at the studio reception,
next to a candle and a photo of Ellis, and a series of upcoming
shows will be dedicated to the much-loved student.
Friends are invited to join Ellis's family at Vinters Park
Crematorium for a celebration of her life on Wednesday, February 6.
The funeral will start at 2pm, but guests are advised to arrive
early due to the large number expected.
Attendees are asked to wear bright colours and are welcome at
Maidstone Rugby Club in Willow Way after the service.
Instead of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made
to charity Epilepsy Bereaved (EB), which works to prevent sudden
unexplained deaths in epilepsy (SUDEP). More information can be
found at www.sudep.org.
Donations will be accepted on the day by the funeral directors.
Did you know Ellis Powell? Leave your tributes below.
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