TRIBUTES have been paid to an "inspirational" girl who died after battling a series of major health challenges before Christmas.

Born with Down's Syndrome and later receiving other diagnoses including chronic lung disease, which meant she needed an oxygen tank to breath at night, Poppy-Mae had a difficult start in life.

But despite the health battles she faced, friends and family said Poppy-Mae was a fighter with a golden sense of humour.

In September last year, Poppy-Mae charmed the crowds at Edgar Street and touched the hearts of many across the county as she joined Hereford FC on the field as mascot.

Now, family friends have started a fundraiser to help Poppy-Mae's family celebrate her memory.

Organiser Nicholas Matthews said: "Truth be told, I don't really know how to put the words together to describe the story of little Poppy-Mae.

"She wasn't really like anyone else I'd ever met, she was explosive, an absolute powerhouse of character, with only a short time here she touched the hearts of so many, those same hearts she has now left broken as we try to find a way to say goodbye.

"Poppy-Mae came into this world with a wealth of medical challenges, and it wasn't for lack of trying that on Christmas Eve even the strongest of fighters was deemed too special to stay here with us any longer.

"The messages of support have been overwhelming and a real testament to Poppy-Mae. I know it's a trying time of year for people's finances but I also know that many are eager to help.

"All funds raised will go towards Poppy's funeral, a memory garden that her mum and dad would like to create as a place to remember Poppy, and to help with bills whilst they try to negotiate a new life without their little girl."

Since it was launched yesterday (Monday), the GoFundMe appeal has already raised £940 of a £5,000 target.

You can click here to see the full appeal or to make a donation.