Funeral of tragic 18-year-old

WHEN Rebecca Rice was aged just six she wrote a poem in which she wanted to find a best friend.At her funeral yesterday it was evident that she had in fact become a best friend to so many people.

By Richard Smith

WHEN Rebecca Rice was aged just six she wrote a poem in which she wanted to find a best friend.

At her funeral yesterday it was evident that she had in fact become a best friend to so many people.

They packed into Wickham Market church, near Woodbridge, for the 50-minute service, with many mourners standing as they listened to the impact Rebecca had on everyone she met.

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Rebecca, who died aged 18, was “an amazing friend to everybody”, who made the sun shine brighter, the sky turn bluer and the day more enjoyable, the service heard.

Her enthusiasm and her love of life inspired both young and old. They were enriched by being in her presence - and Rebecca made time to listen to their own troubles.

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Rebecca, according to her friends, was the “party girl”, the young woman with a vibrant energy and a wicked sense of humour.

Rebecca's body was found with knife wounds at her flat in nearby Pettistree last month. She was only days away from starting an office job with Suffolk Coastal District Council, after completing her AS levels at Thomas Mills High School, in Framlingham.

She was a keen horserider and the front of the funeral service order was adorned with an action picture of her jumping. On the back was a portrait of Rebecca, who had done some modelling, appearing in a motoring magazine.

Her parents, Anne and Patrick Rice, spoke of their love for their treasured daughter and her endearing qualities.

Rebecca was loved, trusted and respected by all those who knew her, but Mr Rice admitted he was astounded by the amount of cards from her best friends.

He said: “They spoke of the good times they had together, and a certain time in their lives when Rebecca had helped them come to a difficult decision.”

He added that at the time of Rebecca's death, his daughter was enjoying the happiest time of her life.

“She loved her animals and her close friends. She was the best daughter any father could hope to have,” he said.

Mrs Rice told the congregation: “You are all special to her - the school friends, her horse friends and her modified car friends.

“To all of her friends, have a good life and remember her when you are feeling low. She will be there for you. We have lost somebody very special indeed.”

Close friends Hannah Law, Grace Kelway and Verity Ellis, in their tributes to Rebecca, told how the teenager was full of spirit and she would try anything once.

Betty Mockford, priest-in-charge at Letheringham, conducted the service and she said: “We are here this afternoon to say a proper goodbye to Rebecca who was taken so suddenly from us. We are here to remember Rebecca and to give thanks to God for her life on earth.”

A song written by two of Rebecca's cousins, Emma Summerhayes, 11, and her brother, Joe, 14, was played at the funeral.

The committal was held in Letheringham churchyard and mourners attended the family home in the village for refreshments.

Donations were taken for the International League for the Protection of Horses, the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust and the Donkey Sanctuary.

n Stuart Adcock, 33, of The Street, Pettistree, has been charged with murder. He has yet to enter a plea and will appear before Ipswich Crown Court at a later date.

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