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More than 150 people turn out for emotional vigil for missing Sophie Smith from Gorleston

PUBLISHED: 10:10 04 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:07 04 March 2018

A vigil for the peace of Sophie Smith who went missing on Boxing Day was held at Norwich Cathedral.
 Picture: NICK BUTCHER

A vigil for the peace of Sophie Smith who went missing on Boxing Day was held at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

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Friends and family of missing Sophie Smith turned out to share their memories of the Suffolk student at Norwich Cathedral last night.

More than 150 people turned out for a vigil for Sophie Smith on Saturday night. Picture: NICK BUTCHERMore than 150 people turned out for a vigil for Sophie Smith on Saturday night. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

“When I think of Sophie, I think of one of the best friends I have ever had and probably ever will have.”

That was among the memories from the friends of Sophie Smith which were read out at an emotional vigil for the missing Gorleston student on Saturday night.

Sophie Smith, 21, has been missing from Gorleston since Boxing Day. Picture: ISSUED BY NORFOLK POLICESophie Smith, 21, has been missing from Gorleston since Boxing Day. Picture: ISSUED BY NORFOLK POLICE

More than 150 people attended the vigil for the peace of Sophie, which was organised for those affected by the University of East Anglia student’s disappearance and for those who have helped to search for her.

Sophie, 21, disappeared from her home in Avondale Road in Gorleston at 3am on Boxing Day, without a mobile phone and wearing just a vest and shorts.

The vigil at Norwich Cathedral for missing Sophie Smith. Picture: NICK BUTCHERThe vigil at Norwich Cathedral for missing Sophie Smith. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Subsequent CCTV footage captured her heading towards the seafront a short time later, but there have been no other confirmed sightings since then.

Her disappearance sparked searches by the community and by emergency services and a number of those who looked for her were present at the vigil.

Canon Andy Bryant, who led the service at Norwich Cathedral, said: “Out of Sophie’s disappearance, the one bright ray was the way the community came together to help in the search for Sophie.”

He said Sophie’s family wanted to thank all who had looked for her, including emergency services such as the police, coastguard, lifeboat crews and the lowland search and rescue teams.

Sophie Smith went missing from her Gorleston home on Boxing Day. Picture: NICK BUTCHERSophie Smith went missing from her Gorleston home on Boxing Day. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

He said: “We want to remember Sophie’s love of life, her smile and her sense of fun. We will never quite know why Sophie made the choices she made.

“Some things in life remain unknowable.”

Canon Andy Bryant, who led the service at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: NICK BUTCHERCanon Andy Bryant, who led the service at Norwich Cathedral. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Sophie, a second year biomedicine student, regularly visited the cathedral, where her mother Lynn Shaw volunteers as a welcomer.

Candles were lit for Sophie and donations made towards the work of Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind, whose services she had used.

Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue crews, who helped search for Sophie Smith, were among those who attended the vigil. Picture: NICK BUTCHERSuffolk Lowland Search and Rescue crews, who helped search for Sophie Smith, were among those who attended the vigil. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Mr Bryant said: “My prayer for Sophie today is that wherever she is, in heaven or earth, she may know she is loved by God and that knowledge will give her peace.”

• The charity Missing People is available to help people who are thinking about leaving home, for people who are away from home now or if somebody you know is missing. Call or text 116000 or email 116000@missingpeople.org.uk

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