I have been sharing the story of Sophie’s journey and could not leave it without this most poignant episode.
The featured video and photographs re tell the day so well but I am going to give the final word to Charlotte – Sophie’s amazing mum.
What an incredible day yesterday. I was so worried about it and something not going to plan. I didn’t finish the PowerPoint slide show until 1am of the day of the funeral. Amelia then didn’t sleep very well as she was anxious about things.
Thankfully the day went like clockwork and it was the perfect send off for our beautiful warrior princess. So much time went in to organising everything yesterday and I couldn’t have done it all on my own. I have the best friends around who all helped me organise things when I needed them. I had my trusted spreadsheet helping me work through everything including the invite list which gave me a lot of sleepless nights.
Amelia also decided at the last minute she wanted to do a reading in the church. It was a quick case of finding one she was happy to read and writing it out for her.
The turnout from the village and wider community was truly unbelievable. The horse and carriage was stunning, so fitting for the princess that Sophie was. The horse and carriage came from a company in London who wanted to give it to us free! We put the tiara that Holly Willoughby gave her on top of the coffin. Going past so many of you who took your time out to pay your respects was incredible. It brought me to tears in the car. When Lucy and Amelia joined the horse and carriage for the final bit it was so moving. To see them support their sister is something they won’t forget. Thank you to everyone involved in decorating the village, it looked so full of colour.
The church service was beautiful. The vicar Richard England was incredible, he pitched it just right. Gareth and myself carried Sophie into the church along with two others from the funeral directors. We wanted to take Sophie on her final steps and be by her side. The song by Jo Downs (The Arc of a rainbow) played when we entered and it was so perfect. Lucy was in tears from arriving at the church and I had put her first to speak but then I was worried about if she could do it after seeing her so upset. She wiped away her tears stood up and shared her words in front of a few hundred people. That takes some strength at 15 and I’m so proud of her. Amelia then stood up and said her words which was perfect and she spoke so well. Again a really difficult thing to do for your sisters funeral. Sophie would’ve loved it that they both did this for her.
Richard then read out the eulogy which I wrote and he delivered it so well. Then Lorraine Phillips (Executive Head teacher) of Sophie’s school shared lots of memories which was really touching. I then had my piece to share. When Richard said it would be a good idea for someone to talk about the last year of Sophie’s life and legacy I just knew it had to be me. It’s been my journey with Sophie and I knew it was going to be hard but I had to do it.
Even through my practice runs I cried reading it I kept saying I just need to do it. Sophie hated my crying and would often tell me to calm down and pull myself together. I think Sophie gave me the strength to get through it as I wanted to do her story justice.
We had a beautiful montage of photos along with music which was put together by Dan (a colleague of my sister in law).
Our friend Andy Vaughan read a beautiful poem we found about passing over. Everything was just perfect.
The immediate family then headed to Portchester crematorium and on the way Fareham Fire Station had pulled out the trucks and stood out to pay their respects, a beautiful tribute.
After the crematorium we headed back to The Crofton Club for the wake. We had lots of children’s activities arranged as I didn’t want them to feel it was a sad and sombre day – that was never Sophie. My friend Kayrn organised so many things (huge thanks). We had the extremely talented man ( The Bowtie Balloon Guy) making balloons for all the children and adults, he gave his time up for free and I would definitely recommend him. We had arts and craft activities provided by The Creation Station Hampshire Fareham. We had cinnamon swirls provided for free by Sainsbury’s in Fareham thanks to Teresa Panks. Rainbow cookies were made by For Bakes Sake UK which tasted delicious.
The food was provided by Wright Choice Catering and tasted delicious. A huge thank you to Neon & Blush Weddings and Events who provided all the balloons in the church and in the Crofton Club. She’s absolutely incredible as this is the fourth event she’s given up her time for free for us – if you ever need balloons Claire is your lady! Thank you so much to Jo from Driftwood and Daisies Florist and Flower School who did all the flowers for the funeral as well as the table displays at the club, they were stunning and it’s great to support a local business.
So many people attended the wake and I’m sorry I couldn’t see you all. Quite a few I missed even those that came such a long way, we really do appreciate the effort people put in to attending and giving Sophie the best send off possible. She even gave us so many rainbows yesterday morning which was so fitting. I’m just glad it didn’t rain when the horse and carriage went through the village.
We couldn’t have asked for anymore. I’m so pleased we gave Sophie the send off she deserved. The funeral directors Co-op Funeralcare in the village went above and beyond. I would like to particularly praise Grace who from start to finish was so professional, caring and thought of everything. She’s only 23 and took so much care of Sophie from when she arrived at our house to take Sophie to Naomi House right through to the very end.
It’s now the hardest time for us as things settle back to normal, people carry on with their lives and we have to adjust to living without Sophie. It definitely will be the hardest part especially when I get reminders that I only have two living children now. I logged on to get some more medication for Amelia and noticed I only have Lucy and Amelia as my children attached to my name. It would’ve been nice to have had a phone call or letter from the surgery but nothing, not even to see how Gareth or myself are. It was lovely seeing the Stubbington doctor surgery all stood outside when we passed yesterday and they had a huge balloon rainbow arch outside (these are not our doctors!).
You can still watch the full service on the Holy Rood Church Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/holyroodchurch/videos/3094102197504034 if you didn’t catch it yesterday. I will also post a video of the horse and carriage which is just stunning.
Thank you so much for what has been the most difficult times of our lives. We really felt the community spirit and support yesterday and we’ll never forget that.
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