Poignant farewell in Chichester to Sophie Chandler

Sophie Chandler with X Factor winner James Arthur, taken in 2013
Sophie Chandler with X Factor winner James Arthur, taken in 2013

EMOTIONAL friends and family gathered at Chichester Crematorium on Monday to say farewell to a girl with a ‘heart of gold’.

Sophie Chandler, 21, passed away from leukaemia on November 1, and the past few weeks have seen a fundraising appeal to raise the £3,000 for her funeral.

The bride-to-be was set to marry her fiance Jason Mariner at St Richard’s Hospital, in Chichester, on the day she passed away.

Jason and Sophie’s older brother Richard Chandler were two of the pallbearers.

Family friend Debbie Rawlinson said Richard would have given Sophie away at her wedding and the pair carried the coffin as a last chance to say farewell.

On behalf of Sophie’s mother Sylvia, Debbie thanked everyone who contributed to the appeal.

“We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s kind help.”

An online fundraising page received a number of donations with one generous person donating anonymously £100.

Debbie gave a reading at the service on Monday.

“It was about Sophie and how kind-hearted she was,” she said.

“Every time you see a rainbow, you see her nice, smiling face.”

The family also thanked Kingsham Primary School for allowing a fundraiser on Saturday. A raffle alone raised £600.

Family friend and musician Adam Turner is performing a charity concert in Sophie’s memory at Jack Rabbit Slims, on the The Esplanade, in Bognor Regis, on December 13.

Tickets will be £2 and there will be collections in aid of a cancer charity – likely to be Cancer Research UK.

“She was a fun girl – she always used to make me laugh,” said Adam.

“She took life as it came and I think she was really brave and dealt with her illness very positively.”

A start time is yet to be confirmed.

Visit www.facebook.com/adamturnerukmusic for more information.