THE FAMILY of a young woman who died at a service station have spoken of their heartbreak just a month before Christmas.

Thames Valley Police desperately appealed to find Willow Du Plooy, 21, on the night of November 28 – taking to social media to ask anybody who spotted her to call 999.

But in a tragic update the following morning, officers confirmed they had found her body at Cherwell Valley Services.

Writing on the Just Giving Page, which is raising money for the cost of her funeral, her family described Willow’s lengthy battles with her mental health.

“On the face of it,” Willow was “just a normal young lady,” her dad Leon Du Plooy explained.

But under the surface she was “battling demons beyond anyone’s comprehension”.

Oxford Mail:

She had only recently been diagnosed with Emotional Personality Disorder (EPD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) after “blaming herself” for years about her struggles.

Mr Du Plooy said she had always put on a “brave face” and his “only hope” is that she now has peace.

He said: “Of all the dreams a father can have for his children, I would never for a moment have dreamt you would spend most of your life searching for answers in your own head.

“I won’t walk you down the aisle. I won’t see your raise children. But when I look back on your photos and see you smile my heart is filled with the joy you brought to everyone’s lives.

“When you get to where you’re going my only hope is that you find peace.

“Willow, wherever you are…your little sister has asked me to send Mrs Bear to be with you.

“No words can express the pain we feel knowing you won’t be home for Christmas and there will be an empty seat at the dinner table and emptiness in our hearts.”

Oxford Mail:

Paying tribute to her baby girl, who was a “breath of fresh air”, Willow’s mum Tracey Russell said: “Willow I loved you more than life itself.

“Her face lit up when she smiled and she had a huge heart and would do anything for anyone. I was so proud of her. Nothing was too much trouble.

“She meant the world, the universe to me and I will never get over losing her.”  

Her brother, Tristan John, described his sister as “misunderstood, kind, loving and caring.”

All money raised will go towards Willow’s funeral and anything extra will be donated to mental health charities MIND and response.


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