Tribute by Hannah Pettit

I realised when sitting down to write this that it was a harder job than I thought. It is incredibly difficult to encapsulate what Katie’s friendship not only meant to me, but to so many other people whose lives she had been a part of.

Katie had a huge number of friends that she had made from various stages of her life such as Sutton High, Manchester University, work, netball and through her life with Rich in Wokingham. Not only did she have the unique ability to make friends wherever she went, but more importantly she made time for each and every one of them. How many of us received phone calls at 6pm during her commute home, or a response to a status update or photo album on facebook?

Birthdays and anniversaries were never forgotten and she made sure that everyone else remembered too! Katie had an absolute and genuine concern for people. She was always the first to guess if something wasn’t right and she wouldn’t leave you alone until she was sure you would be ok. Katie was always there as a friend in the good times, and more importantly in the bad. We have always said that she was the glue that held our group together and I am sure that many of you will say the same thing. I can only hope that we all continue to follow her example by making time for each other.

Katie was singleminded, determined but at the same time completely indecisive. She always looked for the support of her friends and was constantly double-checking with them as anyone’s email inbox can confirm in the run up to her wedding. That determination followed through into every aspect of her life. She ran two marathons despite her dodgy knees. She always wanted to be a journalist and, unlike many, actually achieved her dream. She was then equally determined that she didn’t want to do it anymore and so carved out a whole new career, something that most of us would have never had the guts to do. It is not a cliché or exaggeration to say that she was beautiful. As a teenager I think many will agree that it was hard getting a boy’s attention when she was around – even in her grunge Dr Marten and skirt phase or the shiny silver shirt of later years.

It was a running joke in our school group that Katie had a back catalogue of the most awful pictures of everyone, apart from herself. We all looked forward to her hen weekend when we could finally get our own back, but typically she looked lovely in every single picture taken of her.

On a personal note I have so many memories of growing up that involve Katie – I could literally be here for hours. We first met when we were 7 years old at Brownies and I can clearly remember our first conversation, or argument, when I tried to tell her that twins could still be identical even if they were the opposite sex. (Perhaps she did know best!) Believe me, this wasn’t the only time that our opinions differed, but nevertheless we remained firm friends for the next 24 years.

We have shared so much together – our love of MC Hammer; sitting on her climbing frame in Western Road overlooking the local boys school playground; laughing and having the time of our lives at Guide Camp (which may surprise some you) and making up camp fire songs to Nirvana and Guns n Roses much to the dismay of our guide leader; our days at Sutton High with Helen, Nicky, Emma, Lisa and Sophie spending lunch hours coming up with our Gladiator names and having water downing competitions; tennis lessons at Cheam Fields club where she met Saskia; nights out with the girls at The Roxy dancing to the world’s cheesiest tunes until the early hours; time spent with our families; various relationships and more recently our marriages and the birth of my daughter and her goddaughter Amelia.

When she got married Katie gave all of the bridesmaids a ‘you and me’ book which she filled with memories and other things about our relationship. Katie wrote in mine “if you were not in my life I would be missing something. I would lack support, advice, friendship and fun”. I think this sums up exactly how I feel about her now. Katie, on behalf of all your friends, you will always be in our hearts. We love you and miss you.