Tributes flood in for Sarah

IPSWICH: She should have been looking forward to celebrating her birthday tomorrow, her family and friends by her side.

But loved ones of Sarah Shields are today preparing to say goodbye to their beloved daughter, sister, aunt and friend after police confirmed the body of a woman discovered off the southern coast of Gran Canaria is that of the 23-year-old.

Devastated family and friends were today coming to terms with their loss – many of whom have sent messages of love and condolence to the former Copleston High School student’s family.

Sarah was reported missing on Sunday when she failed to return home from the popular Spanish island where she had been on her first holiday with new boyfriend Chris Chittock.

The 36-year-old returned home alone.

Messages of love for Sarah have flooded in on the eve of her 24th birthday.

David East, deputy headteacher at Copleston High School, today led the tributes.

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He said: “The school community was saddened to hear the tragic news of Sarah’s death.

“Staff have fond memories of Sarah and her time at the school.

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.”

Friend Emily Reid, who last saw Sarah at the Race for Life when they both ran in Chantry Park on June 13, said her friend had been bursting with happiness.

“She couldn’t stop talking about how happy she was,” she said. “It was lovely to see her so happy. She had never really settled down before so it was really nice to see her so excited about life.

“She told me how she had moved in with her new boyfriend and they were looking forward to going on holiday.

“For years we would go out together, she was so fun loving.

“I can’t believe it, heaven’s just gained a beautiful angel.”

Another friend Holly Lilian Mitchell Dawson said she was in shock at the news.

Writing on Sarah’s Facebook page she said: “RIP Sarah.

“There hasn’t been one minute that has gone by since I heard this tragic news that I haven’t thought about you.

“Why take you in such a way like this? You were such a lovely girl who seemed so happy and in love.

“You touched so many and you will be missed by so many.”

Nathan Stephenson said: “There is never any easy way to say goodbye.”

While Sarah’s niece Stacey Stephenson posted a message on her aunt’s Facebook page thanking everyone for their support.

She said: “We thank you all for your kind words, all comments have been so sweet and thoughtful.”

School friend Sarah Emily Old wrote on the social networking site: “Can’t believe it’s true.

“You never deserved this.

“You really become a beautiful woman. You were so happy and such a lovely girl who would never do wrong to anyone.

“What a complete cruel world we live in. Rest in peace now and dance and sing with the angels just as you loved to do. My thoughts are truly with your family right now.”

And friend Aaron Willis said he used to see Sarah and Chittock in the popular nightspot Pals.

n Pay your tributes to Sarah. Call the Newsdesk on 01473 324790 or e-mail

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