Nfld. & Labrador

'She'd be so proud': Sister of ATV accident victim wins singing competition 1 week after sibling's death

15-year-old Erica Dunn is honouring her younger sister's memory, just two weeks after she died in an ATV accident.

Erica Dunn wins Peninsula Idol in honour of her late sister Heidi Dunn

Erica Dunn, left, and her sister Heidi Dunn, who died earlier this month, performed together often in Bonavista and across the peninsula. (Submitted)

Just one week after a tragic ATV accident claimed the life of her sister, best friend, and closest musical collaborator, Bonavista's Erica Dunn did the unthinkable.

She stood up on stage at Peninsula Idol, a competition she was set to compete in alongside her 13-year-old sister Heidi Dunn, and sang her heart out in Heidi's honour.

To her complete and total surprise, she won.

"I was just kind of in a daze. It still doesn't seem real,"' said Dunn.

"If she was there when I won, she'd be so proud of me."

Erica and Heidi were more than just siblings, friends and collaborators: they were each other's biggest fans.

'This is the longest time that I've ever gone without her," said Dunn.

''It was tough [to perform] but I know she'd want me to. It gave me that strength to keep going and do the best I could."

A great talent

Although Heidi was only 13 years old, Erica says she accomplished a great deal in her short life, and was funny, sharp, talented, and a blast to be around. 

Together, the two siblings formed a musical duo that performed all over the Bonavista Peninsula.  

They sang along to popular songs by bands like One Direction, and had been working on original material and talked of eventually releasing an album together.

Erica Dunn says it's been extremely hard to carry on and perform without her sister, but that it's something Heidi would have wanted her to do. (Gary Quiqley/CBC)

Now, Erica says she hopes to finish the album and dedicate it to her sister, gone far too soon.

"When I first found out, I didn't know how I was ever going to play music again. We played everything together," said Erica.

"It feels like I'm going against her or something. But I know she'd want me to keep going, and just keep doing all this stuff for her."

Wherever Erica goes, she said she knows Heidi will be looking down on her and supporting her in any way she can. 

"The first night that we went down [to Peninsula Idol] there was a double rainbow right over the road.

"I looked at Mom and said, 'She never misses a performance. Ever.'"

With files from Carolyn Stokes