Your orders of service are full of photographs of Charlotte, which capture the person she was: in those images her qualities shine out: her warmth; her intelligence; her marvellous sense of fun; and above all her wonderful, wonderful smile.
To lose someone as able, and gifted, and as greatly loved as Charlotte was – when she still had so much to live for and so much more to give – is devastating. All who knew her will be feeling the pain of her loss acutely.
But our task at this service is above all to give thanks. To give thanks for the wonderful person that she was; and to rejoice that the world was a richer place for her presence within it, and the lives of those around her the richer for having known her.
We remember today a woman of great beauty – both outwardly and inwardly; we give thanks for her modesty and her self-effacing nature – although we remember, too, a woman of great personal presence. We give thanks for her lifelong passion for journalism; for her belief in what she did; for her amazing gift for nurturing the talents of aspiring journalists. We give thanks for her professionalism, her determination and her independence of mind; for her creativity and imagination.
We remember, too, a woman of immense kindness, compassion, and generosity of heart; a woman with a tremendous gift for friendship. We give thanks for her wonderful laugh; and her wonderful smile.
Support us, O Lord, all the day long of this troublous life,
Until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes;
The busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in your mercy, grant us a safe lodging,
a holy rest, and peace at the last. In Jesus name we pray.