Sherry was so beau­ti­ful in­side and out... mum’s farewell trib­ute to chok­ing vic­tim

Belfast Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIC­TO­RIA LEONARD To do­nate, visit: just­giv­ing.com/crowd­fund­ing/danielle-elmes

TRAGIC chok­ing vic­tim Sherry Camp­bell was “beau­ti­ful in­side as well as out­side” and “achieved much in be­com­ing the per­son she was”, mourn­ers at the Groom­sport woman’s fu­neral were told yes­ter­day.

St Com­gall’s Church in Ban­gor was filled to ca­pac­ity as fam­ily, friends, work col­leagues and pupils gath­ered to cel­e­brate the life of the Strang­ford Col­lege spe­cial needs teach­ing as­sis­tant.

Sherry (29), an only child, was found dead in the kitchen of her fam­ily home by her father Shan­non after chok­ing to death in the early hours of last Thurs­day.

She would have cel­e­brated her 30th birth­day on Oc­to­ber 12.

Yes­ter­day, as the rain poured down re­lent­lessly, mourn­ers filed into the fam­ily’s church, which was dec­o­rated with dis­plays of flow­ers Sherry loved.

The al­tar was flanked by two large sprays of pur­ple and white blooms, while a lone red, yel­low and white bou­quet sat in front of the cof­fin.

As the Camp­bell fam­ily took their seats at the front of the church her grief-stricken father

❝ Many peo­ple have spo­ken of her great gen­eros­ity, her kind­ness in school and her love of life

paused for a mo­ment, rest­ing his hand on his only child’s cof­fin be­fore mak­ing his way into the pew.

Father Joseph Gunn ex­tended a par­tic­u­lar wel­come to the young pupils from Strang­ford Col­lege, who were dot­ted through­out the con­gre­ga­tion, and for whom he said Sherry’s pass­ing might be their “first ex­pe­ri­ence of death and a fu­neral”.

He added: “Sud­den death, sud­den mercy; that is our con­so­la­tion as we con­tem­plate the death of Sherry at the age of 29.

“A young death shocks and af­fronts us.

“In the depths of her grief, Sherry’s mother Fionu­ala said that Sherry was beau­ti­ful in­side as well as out­side, and many peo­ple have spo­ken to me of Sherry’s great gen­eros­ity, her kind­ness in school and her love of life.

“In those few words we hear so much.

“She had achieved much in be­com­ing the per­son she was.

“The only an­ti­dote to this loss is hope; hope in the mercy of God, hope in eter­nal life.”

One of the Bible read­ings was given by Strang­ford Col­lege his­tory teacher Gareth Boal, who had taught Sherry as a pupil at the school be­fore she re­turned to take up her “dream job” there.

In a poignant trib­ute from the Book of Wis­dom, he read: “The up­right, even if he dies be­fore his time, will be at rest.

“Honourable age does not de­pend on length of days, nor is the num­ber of years a true mea­sure of life.”

Later in the ser­vice Mr Boal joined with Strang­ford Col­lege col­league Donna Moore, who teaches English, to sing a touch­ing Ir­ish bless­ing.

As the mu­sic echoed around the church heart­bro­ken mem­bers of Sherry’s fam­ily gath­ered around her cof­fin sob­bing. Her par­ents then bent down to be­stow a last kiss upon the cas­ket, which was flanked by a guard of hon­our com­prised of 12 se­nior pupils from the col­lege as it left the church.

At the road­side fam­ily mem­bers con­soled each other as the cof­fin was loaded into a hearse packed with flow­ers.

The fam­ily then trav­elled to Bal­lyvestry Ceme­tery at Edge­wa­ter, out­side Mil­lisle, where Sherry was laid to rest be­side her grand­par­ents.

This was fol­lowed by re­fresh­ments in Sherry’s favourite res­tau­rant, Pier 36 in Don­aghadee, which had been dec­o­rated in bright colours and flow­ers in her hon­our. The Camp­bell fam­ily in­tend to cre­ate a char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion in Sherry’s name, which will raise aware­ness of how to cope with chok­ing when alone, as well as fundraise for a spe­cial needs teach­ing as­sis­tant at Strang­ford Col­lege.

KEVIN SCOTT

Fionu­ala Camp­bell at the fu­neral of her daugh­ter Sherry (be­low) in Ban­gor yes­ter­day

KEVIN SCOTT

Sherry Camp­bell’s mother Fionu­ala (left), father Shan­non (be­low left) and other mourn­ers at the fu­neral ser­vice for the 29-year-old (in­set)

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