A British Airways captain told yesterday how he and his wife battled in vain to save their tragic 14-year-old daughter who suddenly died on a sleepover.
Tragic Hannah Cubin dreamed of following in the footsteps of her dad Andy, a former Red Arrows pilot who was awarded the MBE for his 20-year RAF service.
She was spending the night at a friend’s house just five minutes from home when she stopped breathing on Saturday night, just three days after her birthday.
Her mother Dawn got an 11pm call from Hannah’s friend saying something was wrong and she and Andy rushed to their daughter’s side.
While Dawn performed CPR, Andy gave mouth to mouth before paramedics arrived at the house in Malmesbury, Wilts.
They spent an hour trying to save the youngster but to no avail and she was pronounced dead from a suspected heart attack.
Heartbroken Andy, 54, who is also a test pilot and flight instructor, said: “I knew in my heart of hearts that she was gone.
“I was the last person to kiss her on the lips before I had to leave her.”
He said Hannah – their only child – was a “bright light” in their lives and “a wonderful human being”.
He added: “We are broken. Having children gives you a purpose in life.
“This is what we are here for. Our beautiful girl was absolutely everything we had.
“Everything we did on a day to day basis revolved around what Hannah was doing.
“We would plan every day around her activities, driving her here and there, opening Bank of Dad and shelling out a fiver and closing it again, the taxi service and entertaining her and her friends.
“That is all gone sadly. The Bank of Dad is closed. We have to learn to cope with it somehow. I’m not quite sure how, but we will get there.”
He spent nearly 20 year with the RAF and was a Red Arrows pilot between 1996 and 1999 before becoming a civilian pilot.
He flew with Virgin and BMI and Wizzair before joining BA in 2012 and currently flies the Airbus on short-haul European routes.
Hannah also wanted to be on the X Factor and was a budding Taekwondo star, competing in a world championship tournament earlier this year.
Her grieving mum, 50, said: “Apart from being beautiful on the outside, she was beautiful on the inside.
“She would walk into a room, no matter how big, and she would light the room up. She was amazing.”
The family are yet to discover what caused her death, but Andy heard a paramedic say she believed Hannah had suffered a cardiac arrest.
A post-mortem is due to be carried out later this week.
Andy said the family were in awe of the paramedics who battled to save Hannah as they watched on from the hallway.
He added: “The determination they showed against all odds was fantastic.”
On Monday the family set up a fundraising page to raise money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance in their daughter’s memory.
The charity rescue helicopter was on standby as medics fought to save the teen in case she needed to be taken to hospital, but was not needed.
Within 20 minutes of the fundraising page being launched it had smashed the £999 target.
By Tuesday morning, the total stood at more than £11,000 from some 500 donors.
The family described the support – for a charity they said are their “unsung heroes” – as “amazing”.
Dawn said: “It is incredible generosity and it just demonstrates the amount of affection that has come through from not only people who know Hannah but also thse who don’t.
“We can’t even really come to grips with how incredibly generous everybody is being.
“Hannah has raised enough money to keep the ambulance flying and potentially could be saving so many more lives.”
After passing the £10,000 mark Andy added: “We are dumbstruck now.
“We have collected enough money in 6 hours to keep the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Helicopter in full operations for 24 hours.
“This is truly a miraculous achievement, far exceeding our expectations and proving that, in a world of sturm und drang, we are all surrounded by kindness and warmth.
“Hannah is looking down on all of you and feeling proud of this incredible achievement.
“As for Dawn and I still here on Earth – you have raised our broken spirit in our darkest days – we thank you so much.”
The family plan to hold a funeral service around Christmastime and will scatter Hannah’s ashes in a plot in their garden which will be marked with a tree.
To donate to the appeal, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Hannah-Cubin