The day nobody wanted to see had to happen on Monday, as Chelsea was taken from us on the 17th March after her two and a half year battle against cancer. A great honour was bestowed upon me when Chelsea’s mum asked me to speak at her funeral. Far too young and beautiful to have left us, Chelsea was very special to me and there was so much to say, the words came easily. To see the hundreds of people there whose lives she had touched and who cared so much for her was truly heart warming and as perfect as such a day can be, it was.
“Once upon a time, many years ago, a beautiful 6yr old princess called Chelsea lived with her sister Princess Jade in a little house, on a little street, in a little Principality called Cheadle Heath. One day a new neighbour moved into the Principality, but there had been a terrible mistake by the lawyers who hadn’t warned the new neighbour that the instant she spoke to the two princesses, a magic spell meant they immediately had full princess rights over her new home.
One day whilst decorating, the new neighbour heard an almightly commotion at the end of her garden and rushed to the door just in time to see Princess Chelsea lift up her vest and holler in a very unPrincess-like fashion at her fast departing sister – These are my boobies (I’m sorry vicar) and you’re getting on them!!
Of course, what the neighbour should have done was close the door and mind her own business but instead she exclaimed – I beg your pardon, young lady! With that her fate was sealed and with a cheeky smile Princess Chelsea won both her new neighbour’s heart and all rights over her home.
For those of you who are a bit slow, I was the neighbour and this was how I first met Chelsea and soon all her family all those years ago. So what rights did she and of course Jade, claim? Well, the right to knock on my door every night and ask me out to play, the right to come in and eat all my biscuits, then to bake cakes in my kitchen, then go to Morrisons to do my shopping with me, all with scant regard for the 20yr gap between us. They didn’t care, and neither did I…. sometimes friendships are just meant to be regardless of silly things like age.
The 6yr old Chelsea was a very cheeky monkey, running riot up and down Sherbourne Road into the local playground with a smile ready to disarm any grumpy oldies. She never stopped chatting about something or other, talking about school, gossiping like an old woman about her friends and just generally just rabbiting on. That certainly never changed. But she was much more than just a little girl who came to visit. She was my friend and during a period of my life in my 20’s when other friends were busy and I needed cheering up, that knock on the door every night meant more than she (and Jade) probably realised at the time.
When I moved away from the Principality, it would have been very easy to lose contact, but we promised to stay in touch and did, Chelsea always kept to her word. The knocks on the door turned into sleepovers, with two little girls coming prepared with pyjamas and toothbrushes, to spend nights full of laughter and ice-cream.
As Chelsea grew into a fun loving teenager her lengthy texts, full of energy and kisses always made me smile and she was an absolute delight to spend time with, whether it was going out for meals, for walks, to the pictures or just staying in and chilling in our scruffs.
It’s clear from all your messages on Facebook that this never changed and this girl we loved had the ability to bounce in and brighten up any room, any party and any dancefloor.
Though I was way too old to be there with her, I read hilarious posts and saw ridiculous pictures of her nights out with Jade and friends in Opus, Entourage and various 18th and 21sts, always looking like the centre of attention, with those amazing legs out, the hugest earrings, pulling silly faces and of course always staying sober. There aren’t many people who can be made up like a cat and still look as beautiful as she did.
I’m not sure if any of you noticed but her appetite was legendary, whether Ronalds, Nandos, KFC, her mum’s breakfasts or just Doritos and dip, it was all wolfed down – she must have had hollow legs. Making huge breakfasts with her for Martin when he came in from nights was always fun, never dull and she was one of those guests you never really wanted to go home.
Throughout Chelsea’s illness, her positive attitude was inspirational, her good humour never failed and she had the surgeons, doctors and nurses eating out of her hand. It didn’t take anyone long to fall in love with her, despite the occasional sarky comments and witty asides. Seeing all the staff come in with a cake and sing Happy Birthday in February was the sign of a very loved young lady. I know that Pauline is going to say a few words (if I ever shut up!) but I’d like to take this opportunity to say that Chelsea was a credit to you, you have been and continue to be the most marvellous mum and a rock for your family, she was helped to be the wonderful girl she was because of the mother you are.
Over this last week and a half, everyone has commented that this glorious sunshine must be Chelsea lighting up the blue sky with her thousand megawatt smile and the thought of her up there brightening the heavens gives both sense of comfort and of sadness. There’s a special kind of sadness at losing a girl whose loveliness shone for such a short time. Springtime is full of bursts of beauty which take our breath away but which seem to be gone before we’ve had time to properly enjoy, embrace and love them. The gorgeous pink and white tree blossoms which have flowered in the last week represent the fleeting nature of life, appearing suddenly and shining bright yet all too brief, a feeling we have all had to deal with in recent days. Although Chelsea will always remain in our thoughts, our hearts and our memories, the sight of spring time blossom will forever for me be a reminder of her natural beauty, youth and vibrance.
In the land of fairytales there is always a happy ending and though it doesn’t feel like it right now, Chelsea’s legacy must be one of happiness, because when we think of her, that was her gift. 19 years of her sense of fun, her silliness, her vivacious personality, daft faces and beaming grins must stay with us and boot us up the bum whenever we want to moan and groan about life, something she rarely did even when most of us would have been wailing with self-pity. For us to learn from her courage and grace, and still keep smiling may just mean that from this great sadness will come positivity, so each year, when you see the blossom, be inspired to be the best person that you can be, because you have that gift and that chance. Be sure, Chelsea will be watching and willing you on to be, as she had said she wanted to be but couldn’t – ‘the narrator’ of your own life.”