Jules read this at Emma’s memorial on the 30th September 2013:
I’m honoured to have been asked by Emma’s parents to say a few words today about Emma’s Oakbank days and a little about my friendship with her in general.
I met Emma nineteen years ago at Oakbank School where she did her GSCSEs and A Levels. Needless to say Emma achieved straight As at school whilst also being heavily involved in the music and drama department-she really was a remarkable student.
I’d like to tell you about how I initially became friends with Emma. She was in my GCSE French class, yet during the first term or so, we’d never really spoken. We were, in fact, from very different worlds. However, one lesson, due to my loquaciousness, Mr Bramall moved me to the desk in front of Emma’s and this was where our friendship began. It was during this lesson that Emma first spoke to me with the question: ‘did you know that the word ‘gullible’ isn’t in the Oxford English Dictionary’? I believed her for a moment- she’d probably say I believed her the whole lesson- but in my defence, she, as we all know, could be very convincing. It made us both laugh and well, it was the beginning of one of the most important friendships of my life.
In terms of school days, we worked hard-I’d say Emma worked harder- and we played hard too. We had our own corner in the sixth form common room where we’d spend hours discussing the fundamental things in life as a teenager: boys; girls; where we’d next see Tori Amos; which colour we’d dye our hair next; where we’d meet to go shopping for vintage clothing; when we could next go to Emma’s Mum and Dad’s for a cheeky smoke and….which university we’d like to go to!
Hilarity and hard work is how I’d sum up those school days with Em but there were times of anguish too. I remember when the ‘townies’ as we called them – we were the ‘grebos’ apparently – hurled homophobic abuse our way. Yet Emma being Emma was unfazed by this and induced in me a feeling of confidence and to never be ashamed of who you are.
We celebrated our A level successes by travelling to Angelsey where eight of us stayed in a cottage. Emma cycled, I remember, with a few others; she never did take the easiest way like driving in Alison Yoxhall’s comfortable car, but that’s what made Em so unique- always challenging herself.
I suppose though, and I’m sure Emma would agree, that our friendship became deeper during our twenties. Living in different parts of the UK and later different countries, we’d always find a way to spend time together. She came to Frankfurt on a couple of occasions and I visited her countless times in Manchester. And it never really mattered what we did but for those few days we’d forget our worries and woes: talking till the early hours; laughing; singing; dancing and on one random occasion having a darts competition in my apartment in Frankfurt!
I’ll end on this though. Emma was one of those people who always knew what to say to make you feel better. I loved her for that. When my Mum died earlier this year, I was feeling pretty low one day and, of course, I knew who to call. Emma advised me not to dwell on how I felt that my Mum had left this world too early and should have done so much more with her life. Instead, Em said to me, ‘she created you Jules and helped shape you into the wonderful woman you are today’.
Well Em, you’ve left this world too early and it breaks my heart but I will never forget the impact you’ve had on me- you’re an equally wonderful woman.