| 4.7°C Belfast

Sophie Bridges ‘nourished all who knew and loved her’ mourners are told


The coffin of Sophie Bridges arrives at Roselawn crematorium

The coffin of Sophie Bridges arrives at Roselawn crematorium

Sophie Bridges

Sophie Bridges

The coffin of Sophie Bridges arrives at Roselawn crematorium

The family of a Co Down woman who died after a long battle with bulimia paid an emotional tribute to the 21-year-old at her funeral yesterday.

Over 200 mourners packed the service for Sophie Bridges at Roselawn crematorium including family and many of her heartbroken young friends, who had standing room only.

The Among those reading tributes were her father Raymond, siblings Sam and Hannah and her best friend Murdoch.

Her mother Sharon and brother Ethan also comforted each other during the service.

The hand-picked music reflected the former Assumption Grammar School pupil's favourite artists, including songs from Linkin Park and Florence & the Machine.

"Sophie won't be by our sides anymore but she's never ever going to leave us," her sister Hannah said.

"We'll always love her and we'll see her again and the heavens had better be ready for her. We'll always love you Sophie."

After reading a poem, her father added: "Life can be very, very painful and cruel. It can also be very beautiful but you have to go out and find that beauty, so go out and find it."

Leading the service was family celebrant Julie Antonette.

"Sophie's life has nourished all of those who knew and loved her," she said.

She told those gathered that Sophie had been a "bright little girl" at school who loved art and language classes, vintage clothes and animals. Mourners heard how she was born in Downpatrick in 1996 and grew up in a busy and loving household in Killyleagh. Many happy days were spent on family picnics in Delamont Park and Tollymore Forest, with holidays in Donegal.

She began to battle with bulimia in her teens and left Assumption at 17 "because she wanted to live life to the full while she could".

She made many close friends while working at McDonald's, including Murdoch, and was often named employee of the month.

Inspired by her many hospital admissions, Sophie also had dreams of helping others by training as a nurse.

A passionate supporter of Belfast Pride, Ms Antonette said Sophie would have been thrilled to see friends from the LGBT community attending the service.

"Sophie had her own style and loved her vintage fashion," she said. Especially keen on dogs, Sophie's own dog, nicknamed 'Babycakes', lay on her bed keeping her company for the last few weeks of her life.

"Sadly we lost Sophie after a long and brave battle with her illness. She will be missed by everyone here," Ms Antonette said.

"Today we mourn the loss of someone we have loved.

"Sophie's death means that we can no longer see her, read her crazy texts and videos, write her a note or share a cup of tea.

"These are the things that we'll miss.

"But we can be glad that Sophie filled our lives with that unique something that only she could give, a little bit of herself, a little bit of her life and a lot of her love.

"We can hold on to those things in our hearts and recall those memories whenever we choose."

Sophie spent the first half of 2017 in hospital before spending her final months at her family home in Killyleagh.

The family thanked the patients and staff who cared for her at the time.

"They became a valuable network of friends and on her 21st birthday they made gifts and cards for her to make sure she had a wonderful day to remember," Ms Antonette said.

"Thanks also to Denise, a nurse who dedicated herself to caring for Sophie during her time there."

A statement from Sophie's old school said she would be remembered as "a bright and beautiful girl who was always kind and sensitive to others".

Eating Disorders NI can be reached on 028 9023 5959, or visit their website at eatingdisordersni.co.uk.

Belfast Telegraph