Today I attended a funeral - a funeral for a past pupil aged just 22. Something I never expected to do. I know I am very lucky in that in 29 years of Headship I never lost a pupil who was still at school, but to see so many youngsters there today mourning the loss of a beautiful, intelligent, active, dynamic young girl was just awful to witness.
Well the funeral was beautiful and awful. It was in the most beautiful setting - its a woodland burial site where Nigel and I have bought plots and they have a new stunningly beautiful service hall and reception space in the woods overlooking Poole Harbour. There must have been 400+ people there and even though the venue is huge they had to play the service on screens in the reception hall for those who couldn't fit in. Very hard to see so many young people - past pupils and others. Her boyfriend, who was with her when she was killed did amazingly well. It was a humanist service which I find harder as I need the prayers but that was OK as I prayed anyway. The service really captured her spirit, her energy, the love of life she had, the amazing things she accomplished, her humour, her vitality and her influence on others around the world. I held it together until they played My Life My Love (don't know if you have seen Mama Mia 2 but it's the song Meryl Streep sang at her daughter's wedding) and it was chosen by her mother and it was heartbreaking. I am not a mother but i don't know how a mother can survive burying her child. Just too awful for words.
The service really captured everything about her and what made her special and I know you could say this about everyone but she really really was an incredible young lady who, in 22 years, had already done so much.
Her parents have set up a foundation to help disadvanteged children in her name so that something good comes from the awfulness. I hope and pray with all my heart that they find some comfort in the fact that so many people loved their daughter, so many people mourn her loss and that she was an incredible young woman who has left a legacy that will live on.
She was killed by a hit and run driver doing approximately 90 miles an hour in the early hours of the morning in London. This was the Evening Standard article. He has subsequently been found and charged with causing death by dangerous driving, driving a motor vehicle dangerously, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident. Little words for such a henious crime to have caused the loss of such a wonderful young lady.
Today I am thankful
- that her parents, and friends and family, will have seen such an outpouring of love for their daughter
- for people who brighten the world, for however short a time, by just being in it