This is our letter to Katie.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, with so many pages of your story left unwritten. But then, the chapters of your life were already so full; with fun, with smiles, with laughter… with life. We remember your smile and your kind eyes. We remember the lasting impression that you left in all you said and did. We remember your honesty and how you fought for your dreams.
Amy remembers living with you in Manchester and the hours that you spent chatting in your pyjamas. I remember how you showed me around the sights in Paris – a place that you had lived – and how we ate too many churros with the girls in Madrid. I, perhaps rather strangely, remember baking bizarre-tasting ricotta pancakes with you, and also celebrating the wonders of wine, with fresh bread and cheese. I remember the year that you arranged for us to work at Ascot and how we all laughed when Toral got told that she had to hide her (far too) modern tea trolley from the Queen! I remember the long (yet fun) hours that you, me and Alison spent training for the London Marathon – you, of course, had (amazingly) been through it all before, but nevertheless, you did it again with us, and raised so much money for a charity close to all of our hearts.
Alison remembers crossing the line with you and Amy at the London Marathon, and the emotion of finishing together – a few tears were shed by all. I remember your determination to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research in John’s memory. You never tired of coming up with new and creative ways of fund-raising; it is down to you that we raised so much. I remember how skiing with you in La Plagne was so much fun. Neil, Darren and I went to ski school in the morning and then you, Rich and Toral helped us ski in the afternoon; once, when we had to come down a steep slope (well for me anyway), I kept falling over and you were there to tell me where to move my feet… until the final time, when you were laughing too much at the position I had ended up in! I remember how you and Rich introduced Darren and me to one of our favourite wines, which you had discovered on your trip to South Africa; it will always bring back happy memories and remind me of you when we drink it.
Claire remembers how you put your heart and soul into anything that you ever did. I remember when you stayed with us for a while when you worked for the Enfield paper – you used to come back bursting with stories every night and with details about how you could outsmart your competition in the job. I remember how you proudly showed me the mobile number for Bradley from S Club 7(!) and how you told us the most bizarre stories about celebrities whenever we met up! I remember how you would holler ‘Duffy’ rather than Claire – I don’t think you ever called me by my first name! I remember how you always came up with plans for things to do and made sure that all of us met up, even after a hard week at work. I remember the lovely dedication you wrote in the book you sent to Tom, and how genuinely happy you were when anything good happened to someone you loved.
Lucy remembers how you used to rollerblade around Owen’s Park in Manchester and, oh, how you both laughed at Toral… the funniest person ‘ever’ on rollerblades. I remember how I called you ‘Spam’, Spammo’ or ‘Spamsy Potter’ and how you would call me ‘Loopy’. I remember going to the races with you and all your friends at Epsom… you had to lend me a suit jacket as I had no appropriate ‘horse racing’ wear! I remember the fun we had at the ‘black tie do’ for your 21st birthday – it actually fell on my birthday, so your parents included me in the limousine transfer to the venue… with champagne and all! I remember our most ridiculous dance routine to Backstreet Boys’ Everybody – you came and found me in the loo at your 30th birthday as I was about to miss it! I remember the postcard you sent me of the inside of Sutton Library. I won our ‘postcard competition’ with ‘Fall not out with a friend for a trifle’. You loved that postcard. I remember how we used to fall out over Arsenal and Sheffield United. I always hated Arsenal, but now I will always want them to do well.
Sarah remembers all the times that you sat in each others’ rooms at University, nattering away for hours. You both shared your troubles, but there was always a lot of laughter as well. I remember when I went on holiday with you and Lucy to Corfu. We had such a great time relaxing on the beach during the day and enjoying the nightlife in the evenings – you laughed so much when I joined in one evening with the professional Greek dancers! I remember when you and I went to Edinburgh for a few days to celebrate the end of exams. We found a bargain room in a youth hostel, with amazing views over the city and castle. We did all the touristy things, including going on the sightseeing bus, and both fell in love with the place. I remember going to visit you in Paris for your birthday. It was mine and Lloyd’s first mini-break together – you showed us the sights and made it a really special weekend.
Toral remembers all the girls cooking sauté potatoes in Owens Park in Manchester, and laughing (and feeling embarrassed) because you had all set off the smoke alarm… the whole tower was evacuated! I remember how we used to dance a lot and put our necklaces over our noses when the ‘Chimney’ song was on. I remember how you laughed when I wore my Mum’s ‘one size too big’ shoes while working at Ascot (I didn’t own a flat pair of shoes!). I remember having an amazing time with you on holiday in La Plagne; eating great food, laughing and sometimes despairing at Neil and Rich’s puns, and feeling relieved that all of us made it down the mountain through the whiteout. I remember how our email conversations would brighten up my working day, you were the quickest responder I knew.
We remember when you met Rich at Sarah and Lloyd’s wedding, and how you could just tell that he was the perfect man for you. We remember how beautiful you looked on your wedding day and how blissfully happy, and in love, you were before you left us. We remember so much more. But, perhaps most of all, we remember that you live on in the memories and stories that all of us, and so many more people, promise to share.
With so much love, Amy, Alison, Claire, Lucy, Sarah and Toral