“Mum was our everything, then all of a sudden she was gone,” she said.
Faced with the loss of their only parent, the 21-year-old went from big sister to the sole carer of her younger brothers and sisters – Kala-Jai, 19, Jayden, 17, Preston-James, 14, and seven-year-old Bobbee-Mae -overnight.
Chelsea was determined the five of them would not be split up, so she became the glue to hold them together.
She says: “I pulled my big girl knickers up and said to myself: ‘Come on Chels, you can do this. Be brave.’
“My mum raised us alone and always taught us that no matter what life throws at you, you’ve to dust yourself down and come back stronger. If I took myself away from the kids, where would they go? It just wasn’t an option. I had to make sure we all stayed together.”