My name is John, and I never thought I would be doing this, but I have set up this page to help fund my little sister Theresa’s repatriation from Australia and the costs of her funeral.
It has not been an easy decision for the family to take; it leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth to talk about money when something so profoundly devastating has happened. Unfortunately the reality is that the family are faced with the costs of shipping Theresa’s body back from Tasmania, where she died in a car crash, and with arranging a funeral worthy of such an amazing person.
Who was Theresa?
Theresa was 25 years old, the daughter to Alison and Donald, and the sister to me and Joe, our younger brother. She is also doted on by her grandmother, Grandma Betty, as she was her first granddaughter. Most of the family haven’t seen Theresa in person in about two years. Back in May 2014 Theresa left on an adventure which would turn out to be one of the defining periods in her life.
Before then she had forged some deep friendships and gained a reputation as a bit of a character who would always inject a little bit of healthy insanity into any party, or would give you a cuddle, a shoulder to cry on, and then a firm kick up the backside if you were feeling a bit low.
She left because she was doing what any 23-year-old does: she was trying to work out who she was and what the hell she was going to make of her life. She had been to Uni to study fashion business, but then returned home to earn money to fund a move to Paris, where she would make her big break. Working in her hometown in John Lewis department store dressing windows and displays. It seemed like the ideal first job for the time being, something made for her, as it allowed her to earn money and to have a creative outlet whilst also being on the periphery of the fashion industry. It would stand her in good stead for whatever her career would end up being.
By this time Theresa was reading a mix of trashy fashion magazines and philosophy books, a mix that would be familiar to anyone who knew Theresa’s blend of profound philosophical insight and drunken roar. It wasn’t until she went away that Theresa took her creativity to its logical peak, and she found that it was her life itself that should be used as the canvas onto which she would craft her creative output. You should be able to see what I mean if you watch the below video filmed by her friend Hannah.
We are still piecing together a full story of how she was when she was away, and how her journey and the people she met inspired and changed her. What is clear is that she touched a lot of people and developed rapidly as a person.
What do we want to do?
Theresa loved going to exhibitions, and so it seems appropriate that her funeral would take the form of an exhibition. What we would actually like to do is to put together an exhibition of Theresa’s life to showcase what an amazing person she was.
As happens in life, many people come in and out of your life at different points. Theresa’s closest friends in primary school might not have known the party animal that injected that little dose of utter craziness; many of her travelling companions will not have known much about Theresa’s childhood. We would like the funeral to be a celebration of every aspect of Theresa’s life, and a chance for people to learn more about her so that she can live on in some way, in the memories of the people that she has touched.
How do we plan to use the funds?
First and foremost the funds will go towards the repatriation of Theresa’s body. This is a complicated and expensive process, and it is still not yet clear how much this will actually cost in total, and usually runs into thousands of pounds. As messages of support have flooded in, so many people have asked about how they can contribute, and anonymous donations seems like the fairest and simplest way to go about it.
Secondly the funds will go towards planning the funeral to make it a suitable and worthy celebration of Theresa’s life. Primarily this will entail printing the materials that will make up the exhibition, but also hire of a large enough venue.
Any leftover funds will be donated to charity, and we will let you know the charity that we have chosen if this becomes necessary. I imagine we would find a charity that is somehow relevant to Theresa’s life and her own ethos, perhaps one that she would have encountered on her travels.
Actually permitting anonymous donations has not been easy. Any help that we accepted we would have preferred to have been given the opportunity to pay back in the future. After talking this over a lot, and after being overwhelmed by the number of people who have mentioned this, we have decided that this is the best method. We only ask that people give only as much as they want to, and not a penny more.
Thank you all,
The Falvey family