Mum creates 'Penny's Den' after death of two-year-old who was hit by a car as she chased puppy

A mum who lost her two-year-old daughter when she was hit by a car has created a beautiful haven in the area her little girl loved.

Clare McClure, 38, from Whitby, Yorkshire, lost her daughter Penny Young when she ran into the road while chasing her new puppy Teddy.

The toddler was rushed to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, but sadly passed away 24 hours later having suffered severe head injuries during the accident, reports Teesside Live.

Mum-of-three Clare said: “Penny was knocked down by a car and died 24 hours after being hit.

“She suffered three traumas to her skull and she would never have survived.”

Clare added: “I’d just got the kids a puppy. We’d only had it a couple of weeks and we were at my mum’s house.

“One of them let the puppy out and Penny chased after him. They ran into the road and she was hit by a car.

“She had a dog biscuit in her hand, she loved the dog.

“It was just really, really bad timing, it’s not even a busy road that she was on.”

Following Penny’s death on June 17, 2016, there was an outpouring of grief across the North Yorkshire town.

Claire received help from the hospital in Middlesbrough and Teesside Hospice.

She said: “Even after she died the hospital invited us back to sit and have a coffee and talk so I could ask any questions about it.

“They did put my mind at rest. They went beyond their jobs, they really cared.

“Teesside Hospice was fantastic. I had bereavement counseling there.

“They helped with advice of what to do with your surviving child. It’s difficult trying to be a mum when you are grieving.”

Clare McClure with her daughter Penny

Many local residents attended Penny’s funeral at St Hilda’s Catholic Church in Whitby.

Clare, who is also mum to Elizabeth, 19, and Amber, two, said: “I just know the church was absolutely ram-packed.

“I didn’t recognize a person in there but I think it was because it was a horrible, traumatic story. They were literally pouring out the doors.

“We read Three Billy Goats Gruff – that was one of her favourites. We read the bit about the youngest Billy Goat Gruff.

“We also wore Paw Patrol badges because that was her favorite TV show.

“After the funeral there was £1,500 in donations that went to James Cook hospital.”

Penny's Den

Penny used to spend a lot of time building dens at Calla Beck, which is near their home.

Clare has since transformed the area where she used to play into ‘Penny’s Den’ and regularly visits with her family.

The area has been decorated and now contains a rope swing, a hammock, a bench and a BBQ area.

There are also five Christmas trees which are decorated each year on December 1 – Penny’s birthday.

The Christmas trees are decorated every year on Penny's birthday

Clare, who works as a breakfast chef, also holds an annual fundraiser in Penny’s name for bereaved parents.

She said: “It’s a fantastic place. When I am at the den I feel really close to her.

“We used to build a lot of dens down there. We were happy there.

“I don’t find that happiness up at the cemetery.

Penny's Den

“Penny was really fun and she loved the outdoors, I couldn’t keep her in! I used to struggle to keep her away from that den.

“She was a really fun-loving, happy kid. She loved animals and it’s lovely there for wildlife.

“I’m still proud to be her mam and I want to brag about it. You don’t get a chance when they are gone.”

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