Tribute by Lydia Samuel

My beautiful big sister, how can I possibly sum up all that you mean to me and how much I love you? No words can do justice to you.

Since I was young I always wanted to be like Katie, in fact I probably followed her around to the extent that she got fed up with me, yet she was always so patient. I remember the time she took me to Camden Town for the first time; in my excitement, I managed not to get on the tube with her and she was left desperately banging on the window mouthing at me to stay put – she was so worried I would get lost. Another time, she took me to my first Wimbledon tournament; I was so thrilled as I’d moaned for years that she was allowed to go and I wasn’t and, as always, we bumped into so many people that she knew. I was so proud to be with her because it was obvious she was liked by so many people and so many people wanted to stop and chat to her. For many years as a family we went camping in France and I would always want to do everything with her. I wasn’t the only one though, as she always had a stream of admirers too. She had the most amazing smile and infectious personality that boys would just instantly fall in love with her.

Although Katie and I could be very different sometimes, we also had a huge amount in common. We both love sport. She, like me, was a huge fan of Arsenal and after every match we would ring or text each other to celebrate or commiserate. The last time I went to a match was with Katie and we laughed so much because as we were walking up to the grounds an Arsenal fan shouted out ‘Oh my God, two girl gooners’. My sister and I also both loved a good gossip. As soon as she found out any celebrity news – and she had an incredible list of contacts – she would send me a text or phone. We’d had a good laugh about Ashley Cole’s latest indiscretions. Particularly, as an ex-Arsenal player, he’d made some rather unkind remarks about the team. She would be thrilled to know Cheryl is on the verge of leaving him.

We always laughed, we would bicker too sometimes but she could always cheer me up if I was down and would listen to any problem I had. One of the things I loved best about Katie is how she used to go out of her way to help people because she was so kind and caring. When I needed prizes for a work raffle, Katie would contact everyone she knew to try and get prizes for me, she wouldn’t give up until she had good ones and then she would shame me by selling more tickets than me! More recently, she organised a scavenger hunt for my friend’s hen do. She even rang up Lincoln Tourist Office to get more information of the area. She was so pleased when my friends and I said how much we enjoyed it. That’s just the essence of my sister: she always wanted to make other people happy and would always put 110% into everything.

Katie just loved life and was a real go-getter. She was always doing something: netball, the gym, Spanish classes, cooking, running marathons; and more recently, trying to start a blog. She was just so enthusiastic about everything. Katie talked non-stop about her wedding because she was just so excited to be marrying Rich – the love of her life. She wanted everything to be just perfect. I got numerous emails asking me what i thought about different flowers, readings and so on. Yet, she was just as excited for me when I got engaged. She would send me emails with tips about what I needed to do and the last time I saw her we went shopping at Westfield for wedding stuff for me. Katie had birthday money to spend but was adamant she would only do that once we had done all the shopping for me.

Christmas was something else that she especially loved. We’d all laugh that her emails about Christmas would begin in October. I love Christmas in the Cotswolds and, although I never told her, I couldn’t wait until she and Rich would arrive because it never felt complete until they did with their boundless energy and laughter.

To Rich, my lovely big brother, I want to say thank you for making my sister the happiest woman in the world from the moment you both met at Sarah and Lloyd’s wedding. I know nothing I can say can take your pain away, but I am here for you always.

I will miss Katie every second of the day for the rest of my life. I still can’t believe that my gorgeous, wonderful, big sister is not going to be there on my wedding day but I know she will be there with me and the rest of the family in spirit. I know that we had a relationship and bond that not everyone is lucky enough to experience in their entire life, and the memory of that will last forever. Whenever I’m down, I’m just going to think of her beaming smile and my wonderful memories of her and I’m going to pick myself up and make her proud of me by living life to its fullest.