TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘caring’ and ‘big-hearted’ woman who died suddenly on Christmas Day.

Lee-Anne Stigling, 33, was taken to the Countess of Chester hospital after collapsing on Christmas morning from shortness of breath, but died later the same day from cardiac arrest.

Lee-Anne lived in Hawarden with her partner of 12 years, Craig Williams, and 7-year-old daughter Ella, and worked at Busy Bees Nursery for 14 years.

Speaking to the Leader, Lee-Anne’s mum, Carol, said: “She was a fantastic daughter, my only daughter, it’s heart-breaking.

“She was a very kind and caring person. She loved to put others first, especially her daughter. Ella was everything to her. We are all so shocked and trying to process it still.

“She was my only daughter, so I have memories of her baking and playing with her Barbie’s and arguing with her brothers.

“It’s especially hard for me personally because I lost one of my other sons, Anthony (Stigling, 23) seven years ago of a virus which enlarged his heart. It’s a double whammy. Both were too young to die.”

Lee-Anne, originally from South Africa, was a former student at Connah’s Quay High School and her mum said she was always keen to do her bit for charity, especially raising awareness about breast cancer.

The Hawarden resident regularly organised fundraising events such as charity balls and took part in sponsored walks from Mold to Llandudno.

Craig Williams, partner, said: “She was very caring, always put others first and always did a lot for charity. It doesn’t seem real, it’s a shock through the whole community.

“I love how much of an amazing mother she was to Ella, you couldn’t fault her in the slightest. Even though we are broken-hearted, you just look at Ella and you know something is missing but everyone has been so supportive.

“We’ve got our own little family we never really went out we just went on a lot of day trips so to know how popular she was outside our small circle surprised me really.”

Craig told the Leader Lee-Anne loved to cook and always made food from scratch.

He added: “She loved cooking, she was a very good cook and she tried making different things. She was unbelievable. Her speciality dish was potato salad – it was what people would always ask for. She made everything from scratch, the last thing she made me was cottage pie.”

Lee-Anne had been feeling unwell for a few weeks prior to her death and attended her GP surgery multiple times. She was treated for sepsis at the hospital and her death has been referred to the coroners court for investigation.

On Christmas morning she was struggling to breathe so Craig drove her straight to the Countess. He told the Leader: “I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know how serious it was because she’s never ill.”

Carol Stigling added: “There’s been a lot of shock over her death, it was a sudden death. We can’t fault the Countess staff. They were incredible, they were treating her for sepsis, but it’s gone to the coroner to investigate the lead up to her death.

“That’s how we spent our Christmas. We were all with her at the end and the rest of the family came down when they realised how serious it was.”

Lee-Anne’s funeral will be held on January 16 at 2pm at Flintshire Memorial Park and the family has asked attendees to wear pink as this was her favourite colour and she was a big supporter of breast cancer awareness.

After the ceremony, refreshments will be available at the Connah’s Quay Labour Club and any donations made on the day will be donated to the Child Benevolent Fund at Busy Bees Nursery.

Carol added: “She was such a girly girl growing up and Ella is exactly the same now, they are like two shadows, two peas in a pod. We will be making a memory book for Ella and a photo book to keep, it’s not been an easy time.”

A GoFund me page has been set up to help the family with funeral costs and anyone wishing to donate can do so at

Lee-Anne leaves behind her daughter, Ella, parents Carol and Darren, brothers David, Marco and Drake and partner Craig as well as family, friends and colleagues.