Ipswich teenager wants to adopt brothers she fears could go into care after mum dies with Covid

  • Watch Tanya Mercer's report for ITV News Anglia

A teenage girl has applied to adopt her two younger brothers in the hope of keeping their family together after their mother died from Covid.

Ipswich mum-of-three Heidi Keer was just 45 when she died in hospital, a month after contracting the virus.

Her death on October 29 left Erin, 19, Harry, 15, and Blake, 10, without a legal guardian.

Now, Erin has applied to become her younger brothers' legal carer after concerns the boys could be taken into care, splitting up their family.

A family friend is fundraising to help Erin's plan to raise her little brothers in the family home they had shared with their mum.

Erin, a carpenter, has had to reduce her working hours as she struggles to adjust to the siblings' new life fending for themselves, just weeks after their mum's death.

She told ITV News Anglia: “I'm worried the boys will get taken away from me and I don’t want that to happen, because I'm trying to do everything that mum would want me to do.

"The boys being taken away from the home, taken away from the family, is not something that I want to happen.”

When Ms Keer was in Ipswich Hospital with Covid-19, she told her sister Lisa that she feared she was not going to survive.

Lisa Keer recalled: “It was after a couple of weeks of being in there that she phoned me up and said that she didn’t think that she was coming out.

"She didn’t think that she was getting any better. She didn’t think that she was going to make it."

Erin described Heidi as an "amazing" mum to her and her two brothers. Credit: Keer family

When Ms Keer passed away in late October, the family were left devastated by the loss, exacerbated by worries that the siblings could be split up if the boys were taken into care. 

The boys both have additional needs and their mother had not left a will saying who would act as legal guardians for her sons. 

So her daughter Erin, supported by her aunt Lisa, decided to put her job to one side and apply to be her brothers' legal guardian.

Lisa said she had originally considered taking on her nephews herself, but Erin insisted she wanted to take care of her brothers and keep the family in their home together.

The children's aunt said she did not want Erin to feel pressured, and had questioned her decision. "Her answer was 'Yes, my mum would want me to do it, my mum would want us all to be here and stay together'."

The family have made their decision but have found the process complicated and expensive, which they said has added stress to their grief.

Heidi died in Ipswich Hospital in late October 2021 Credit: Keer Family

A friend has set up a fundraising page to help them, in the hope of raising £3,000 to give Erin and her brothers some relief as they start their new life without their mum.

Erin knows looking after two boys with additional needs means her career will be put on hold and her life will be very different. 

But she says she knows it's the right thing to do - adding that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family.

Erin said: “Mum was amazing. She was everything to me and the boys.

“She would be there whenever we were ill or having a bad day. There was always something that she’d say to make us laugh or make our day better.

Erin's mum would have wanted her to take care of the boys and ensure their lives remained stable, she added.

“I know mum would want me to do it because she’s always wanted us to be together."

  • You can visit the fundraising page set up to help Erin Keer and her brothers here.