Letters from Durham friends

Hatfield-College1

On October 23rd 2004, 350 of Hazel’s university friends – as well as friends from elsewhere – attended a moving memorial service in Durham for her. It was a service devised and largely conducted by the students themselves. Many of them signed a Book of Remembrance after the service. What follows are extracts from that very special book…

Hazel’s friends were just as special to her as she obviously was to them.

*****

Hazel, you are so widely loved and will never be forgotten – your footptrints will never fade.

You’ve inspired so many more people than you will ever know.

I have never met anyone who combines courage and determination with genuine kindness as well as you did, Hazel.

The world is a quieter place without her!

I have simply never met anyone as enthusiastic as Hazel. She seemed to embody all that was good about life and she set such a good example for the rest of us.

Awesome lady and a great inspiration to attack life to the full.

Scotland has lost one of its finest exports. You will stay in my heart all my life and so will the many happy memories you gave me. Thank you.

But sometimes clichés aren’t as bad as everyone makes them out to be – so here’s one now. You’re a legend, you always will be and I miss you an awful lot.

Hazel, you are an inspiration to us all. It was an amazing experience climbing Kili with you and your enthusiasm and perseverance even through the toughest times was so important to us all. Thank you so much, we will never forget your smile, laugh and friendship.

Hazel, in your short life you experienced more and touched more people than anyone could imagine. I will treasure all my memories of times spent with you. Miss you.

Haze, I don’t know how you did it, but I’m convinced that you knew, somehow, that you were only going to have 21 years, and so you went about filling up the time with incredible things that usually take most people 80 years.

Henley was an amazing time, all the more so because of the magic Hazel brought to our crew. I’ll never forget Hazel’s laughter, sense of humour and most of all her smile.

Today’s service really brought home to me how many people’s lives she touched and improved. She will inspire me to strive for success in the future as the example she leaves in my mind is truly legendary. Hatfield and the boat club were lucky to have been enriched by her and I truly believe that her legacy will live on.

….and thank you for helping me in being who I am today. Without you life would never have been so richly coloured or as fun…..

…..Wherever you have gone, I hope you realise you have taken a piece of me with you, but at the same time, I have a piece of you here with me always….

Till the next time. Miss you.

Hazel, in my place tag at your 21st party you wrote “Dream as if you live forever, live as if you’ll die today”. It seems to me that this quote could have been written about you. You did so much for so many people and I hope I can learn from you and do the same….

Haz, as you filled my life with so many quotations I thought I’d end on a quote; “Many people will come in and out of my life, but only true friends leave footprints on my heart”…

Hey! I’ve just been reading some of the comments, and I reckon that you are quite a special person Hazel. I only knew you for a little while, but strangely you had a huge effect on me. A positive effect that I didn’t realise someone could give another person.

….and we’ll attack every new day with the same passion and optimism you gave each day…..

….I’ve learnt so much from you and know that I will live a better life and be a better person because I have known you! Thank you.

You’re one of those people who simply defined Hatfield College and everything I had hoped for in the first term. So, thank you for inspiring me and being such a fun person. Freshgirl rowing was hilarious and your unorthodox coaching techniques will stay with me forever.

I will forever remember a smiling face and open heart and, along with so many other Hatfielders, the indisputable sound of your laughter resonating through college.

Well, we got through to the quarter finals of the Novice rowing cup, but I think that was luck with a sprinkle of divine intervention. You could at least have let us get a cup! I passed my swim test and got in a boat – a true testament to your inspirational power. Then we get into a sky-dive- why? No idea why I’m doing all this – well I do know – to make you proud. Every step I make, every jump, every catch of the blade is and always will be in memory of you. You have, and will be for as long as I live, my smile in a time of sorrow and my last push for home at the end of a race.

Such a short life but so much achieved and accomplished. I hope you realise I’ve signed up to run a bloody marathon and climb a whacking great mountain because of you!! And finally, I’m so terrible at these “write all your feelings in a page” things- and given that there are far too many to fit in, I’ll finish by saying thank you. Thank you for all you have taught me, taught us and also to say, you know what you always said about friends, “The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never saying a word and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had”. Well, I feel as though we’ve had a lifetime of conversations in just under two years. To your smile, your voice and your legacy, to Hazel – night, night – sleep well.

Image credit: Durham International Office