Family and villagers to celebrate Sophie Fairall life

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Stubbington Churches

THE STORY OF 10-year-old Sophie Fairall has inspired everybody who followed her brave battle with cancer, which ultimately came to a sad end when she passed away on September 18. In recent weeks the local area and beyond has rallied around the family’s cause to improve awareness of rhabdomyosarcoma, with over 30,000 signatures on a government petition calling for change and fundraising hitting almost £70,000. With so many following the social media blog ‘Sophie’s Journey’, the family have confirmed plans for a celebration of  her life – an event that will include the public, who became inspired by her story.
A service celebrating Sophie’s life will take place at midday on Monday, October 4, at Holy Rood Church, Stubbington, with an ‘invite only’ restriction in place to ensure safety and privacy for the immediate family.
But residents will be invited to be involved in Sophie’s celebration as the Holy Rood Church Facebook Page is scheduled to live stream the event for everyone wanting to pay tribute in their own home.
For anybody unavailable to watch live, the service will remain online and be shared via Sophie’s Journey pages when the time is right. The church provides streams on a weekly basic, so hopefully no technical issues should occur.
The family have also said that the public can watch a funeral procession around Stubbington village, with a horse and carriage set to leave her home at 11.25am.  Her casket will be taken past the Cuckoo Pint pub and through Cutler Lane towards the village centre, arriving at approximately 11.30am-11.40am. After a brief halt, the procession will complete a loop around the heart of Stubbington before heading to the church. The schedule has been created to allow residents to be involved in watching the procession before heading home to follow the service on Facebook.
Only immediate family will then travel to a private memorial service at the crematorium, before an invite only wake due to limited space at the venue. But the family are hoping that many will be able to pay tribute to Sophie while respecting their privacy and wishes, which includes another request that no flowers should be sent. Instead, they would prefer donations to Alice’s Arc, the children’s cancer charity that was a huge comfort in Sophie’s final days and one that was particularly loved by her.
The family finished their announcement by thanking everybody for their tremendous support and care over the last two weeks, ending with a plea to make Sophie’s celebration available to all. They are  open to questions about the events planned for Monday, which everybody hopes will be a true reflection of Sophie’s inspirational legacy and one journey that forces change.