Ipswich: Hundreds turn out to pay respects to brave Kerry Thorpe at emotional funeral service
PUBLISHED: 14:13 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:12 09 April 2014
Moving tributes were paid as the “brave and beautiful” Kerry Thorpe was laid to rest today.
The 23-year-old, from Kesgrave, lost her battle with cystic fibrosis on March 21 at Papworth Hospital with her loving family, fiance Josh Nelli and beloved dogs at her side.
Today hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects at Seven Hills Crematorium in Ipswich at a celebration of Kerry’s life with mourners having to stand outside and listen to the service.
Her coffin was brought in with Kerry’s favourite song Think Twice by Celine Dion playing in the background.
The service was led by civil celebrant Tina Morford who described Kerry as a “beautiful and brave young woman who showed great courage” before reading emotional words and favourite memories from Kerry’s mum, Jacqui Brett.
She said: “From a young age, unaware to her, she had a lifetime of medication in front of her but she took it in her stride, already showing signs that she was a fighter.
“Kerry was an intelligent girl and was born to be a performer. She loved to sing and dance.
“At 21 months, her sister Kimberley came along. Kerry was not happy to have to share and spent a lot of the time bossing Kimberley around, and Kimberley always did as she was told.
“Their sisterly bond grew daily and wherever Kerry and Kimberley went, they were the leaders of the pack.”
Jacqui spoke of Kerry living life to the max and enjoyed nothing more than rollercoasters and family holidays, both home and abroad.
She added: “When she met Josh, little did she know that this man was going to play such a big part in her life and how much she would depend on him.
“It was a whirlwind romance. She proudly showed Josh her scars and he was never fazed by it - all he wanted to do was protect her.
“Josh gave her a new found confidence. She always struggled with her self awareness and anxiety but he knew how to comfort her. Her other source of comfort was her dogs. She always said she kept fighting for them because they were her babies.”
Jacqui’s tribute added: “Kerry managed to get on the transplant list after a long battle and this filled her with excitement and fear.
“She longed for the phone to ring but was petrified of the thought of such a major operation. She was desperate for that call so she could live again.
“Only Kerry knew how she felt on the inside and those were tough days watching Kerry disappear from the Kerry we used to know. “We are so proud of Kerry. All she wanted to do was raise people’s awareness of cystic fibrosis and organ donation and because of this she has helped save so many lives.
“She may not be here in body but her legacy and the work she did will live on forever.”
Heartfelt words from Kerry’s dad Gary Thorpe were then read to the congregation.
He said: “You were born an angel but you had no means to fly. Your time had come my dear, but first you had work to do.
“There have been times in my life where I have felt angry and guilty of the way you inherited cystic fibrosis but without it you might not have been the exceptionally brave, inspirational and simply unique person you became.
“When you fell asleep Kerry, your work was done. It was your graduation and you finished top of the class.
“Now you can truly take off and fly as high as you can.”
Poems written by Kerry’s sister Kimberley Thorpe and aunt Hayley were also read while poignant songs To Where you Are by Josh Groban and There You’ll Be by Faith Hill were played.
Kerry’s fiance Josh Nelli fought his emotions and said: “Although Kerry’s second chance at life never came, we always spoke of our pride at her getting on the transplant list.
“I can’t express how much I loved her and how grateful I am for the times we shared.
“With everyone’s support, I want her name to live on with The Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust and perhaps, one day, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and fiances won’t find themselves in the same position we are today.”
Kerry’s friends and family placed a single flower on her coffin as service ended with Diamonds by Rihanna playing in the background.