Sally Lewis Inquest – Family pen portrait

Today, the final day of Sally’s inquest, her sister Julie Bennett addressed the court, reading a pen portrait of her sister Sally. The coroner invited her to take her time, to pause, or they could break if necessary. This is what she said:

Even though Sally was at Sunfield when Terry and I came along, that made no difference to us, she was our much loved sister.

Growing up Sunday was Sally’s day. We would fetch her early and spend the whole day with aunties, uncles, cousins and friends, either at home, aunties homes or days out, picnics on the Malvern Hills, river boat rides or visitor attractions locally.

This was never a chore for Terry and I. We looked forward to spending time with Sally and the days were always filled with fun.

Sally was the apple of our Dad’s eye. He would sometimes get emotional when we took her back to Sunfield or Lea Castle.

She was always included in every family celebration, birthday parties Christmas, and would be absolutely excited at the mere mention of the Easter bunny.

She loved music and dancing, Mum and Dad would buy CD players and endless pile of CDs, mostly rock and roll. She loved it but her favourite song was ‘I like it I like it’ by Gerry and the Pacemakers.

There was always music on a Sunday afternoon. Regular dancing round the living room and the highlight for Sal was always the party tea where you had to be quick with the fondant fancies or she’d demolish them all. They were her absolute favourites.

Laces had to be tied at speed, she’d be off before you’d finished them, striding off up the road, we’d have to run to keep up with her.

Whilst she was at Baveney Road she would help in the garden. Planting tomatoes in the greenhouse and having great fun throwing leaves around in the autumn.

Sal loved the outdoors and had numerous holidays throughout the years. She visited Disneyland Paris, the Peak District, Longleat Safari Park amongst others.

We particularly liked her regular long weekends to a log cabin in Ledbury, as we could visit, go for walks and have barbeques in the evening.

When she was on holiday family members would all get postcards telling us what she’d been up to, and phone calls to Mum and Dad.

The vicar at Hallow Church was very kind to Sally. She’d attend Sunday Service and thoroughly enjoy it, and visited the vicar on Wednesdays for squash and biscuits in the summer.

When I moved away from home I would telephone regularly to speak to Sal. Staff would say Julies on the phone I’d hear her repeating my name over and over with vigour down the receiver, then boom, the phone would hit the floor and she’d be off again.

Christmas was always a very special time. She knew Father Christmas was coming and would beam that wonderful smile of hers.

We would help Mum and Dad wrap absolutely everything up, Sally would tear open the paper, dump the present and hold her hands out for the next one, completely disinterested in the present but overjoyed with the ripping off of the paper.

As Baveney Road was so close to my home when I moved back to Worcester I’d often call in unannounced with my children and our dogs. We’d go for walks, pop up to The Camp at Grimley for a shandy and once again you’d have to watch as she’d pinch it with a mischievous grin on her face.

Our Dad had a stroke in 2010 and passed away in 2013. It was explained to Sal that Dad was in heaven, from then on she would point at the sky and say ‘Mr Lewis’, her special name for Dad.

Whilst I was having chemotherapy it was not always possible to visit Sally as Mum had also been diagnosed with Alzheimers. So, I would arrange for her to come home, also inviting wider family for our Sunday party tea.

Sally would attend the Monday night disco at a venue ran by my cousins Mandy and Tracey. She would instantly recognise them, repeating their names over and over, and giving the biggest hugs.

When I could no longer care for Mum, they would take Sally to visit Mum. The carers in the care home all instantly took to Sal, that was not unusual everyone that met her fell in love with her.

Sal would visit me in my flower shop for lunch, often coming up on the train. She loved sniffing all the flowers and always went back with a huge bunch that she’d chosen.

My granddaughter Summer had a very special bond with Sally. When my daughter Kayleigh and Summer visited from Cambridge the first question was ‘when are we going to see Auntie Sally?’. We’d go the very next day and spend the day with her.

Sally has left a huge hole in our lives. She was loved beyond measure. We will always remember her beautiful smile and the very precious memories we’ve made with her will be held in our hearts and minds forever.

We all believe she is now reunited and safe in Mum and Dad’s arms.

She was our sunshine and will be loved and remembered always.

3 comments on “Sally Lewis Inquest – Family pen portrait”

Janis Griffiths says:

Absolutely beautiful and totally heartbreaking at the same time. Sleep well, Sally.

Matt Horsnell says:

Thank you for sharing this incredibly beautiful pen portrait of Sally. She was clearly loved and clearly loved you all back.

It is absolutely heartbreaking that society failed her and continues to fail so many, thank you for taking the stand and fighting to make the world a better place.

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