More than 200 people gathered yesterday at an Inverness funeral home to celebrate the life of a young woman who drowned after a night out in the city centre.
Charlotte Hornby’s family, friends and colleagues bid her a final farewell in a ceremony conducted by Alan Smurthwaite, of the Humanist Society, at John Fraser and Son, Chapel Street.
Music from one of the 24-year-old’s favourite bands, Bombay Bicycle Club, played as her wicker coffin lay at the front of the room, and the congregation filed in, followed by her family.
Mr Smurthwaite began by saying that the words “misery and gloom”, did not feature in Charlotte’s vocabulary and urged everyone to remain “upbeat”, adding: “We will remember her as the happy person she was.”
Ms Hornby’s uncle, Andrew Turnball, who had flown with his family from Sweden, read a poem, She Is Gone, on behalf of her grandparents Audrey and Tony who had travelled more than 400 miles from Cheshire to attend.
Some of the family’s favourite memories of Ms Hornby were related by Mr Smurthwaite, including her efforts at learning to drive, which were described as “kangarooing around the Black Isle”.
She once memorably stalled on the A9, with a lorry bearing down on her silver Mini car, with her dad, Harry, yelling at her to reverse, but she screamed in reply: “I’ve never used reverse.”
Similarly when she started work with Scottish Southern Energy, as an environmental adviser inspecting pylons, this resulted in her talking about pylons of all shapes and sizes with “endless enthusiasm”, according to her dad.
The family recalled her indignation, which lasted 15 years, at not being awarded a race at primary school, which she was convinced she had won, with a “blind teacher” shouldering her blame for the injustice.
She once ran out of crockery, and had to eat her breakfast cereal out of a wok, loved music and socialising, and “had no volume control,” were just a few of numerous anecdotes from her friends and colleagues.
There was much laughter, and some tears, as Ms Hornby’s life was fondly recalled throughout the service.