The kindest, funniest and most fabulous person in any room.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
-Charles Bukowski, ‘The Laughing Heart’
2nd July 2019
Sophie's Quiz Night 2019
Following Sophie’s passing, her family and friends decided to organise a Quiz Night on Friday 17th January at her old school, Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School, Sidcup, Kent, to raise funds for both Thrombosis UK, who promote all aspects of thrombosis care and research in the UK, together with a more local cause much in keeping with Sophie’s love of reading, The Book Buzz Literary Festival. The Quiz Night was a sell-out event, the evening raising a staggering total of £4,150. These funds will be split to support Thrombosis UK and the book festival. It is hoped money raised will enable an event to be held in Bexley’s libraries and other venues all around the borough, to honour Sophie’s memory.
Sophie died suddenly on 3rd June 2019. Visiting her family for the day, at 6 o'clock she was relaxing next to her mum on the sofa waiting for her sister to serve up her favourite dinner. By 6.30pm she had collapsed and was rushed to hospital by ambulance. By 8pm that same evening she had passed away. A brain aneurysm was suspected, but this opinion was wrong. The post mortem revealed Sophie had, in fact, died of catastrophic bilateral pulmonary emboli caused by a DVT.
Sophie had been suffering from a high fever. She saw a paramedic on Saturday 1st June whilst working away and had been told she probably had a virus and to go home and rest. The symptoms of pulmonary embolism - breathlessness, chest pain, high fever - are often overlooked or diagnosed as other, less serious, problems such as a chest infection or viral illness, which is why it is vital to raise awareness.
Symptoms of pulmonary embolism:
• High fever, coupled with any of the following:
• Sudden shortness of breath.
• Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough.
• Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting.
• Rapid pulse.
• Coughing up blood
If you experience these signs or symptoms you should seek medical advice.
Sophie was a shining comet of a woman who sparked with wit, grit and pure unadulterated charm. She could make anything look easy, from hosting an ambitious multi-course dinner party to finding a poem to suit any and every occasion – or pulling off a brave combination of ruffles and studs all at once.
Sophie excelled at most things she tried, and her brain fizzed constantly with new ideas – most of which were concerned with improving the state of the world. After graduating from Exeter University in 2012, she started a successful career in publishing with positions at Bloomsbury and Penguin Random House. Earlier in 2019 she co-founded The FLIP (Female Leadership in Publishing) with two of her colleagues at Transworld, which platforms under-represented voices within the industry in a frank and empowering way. To honour her memory, her family and her boyfriend Tim chose to work with two UK-based charities – Beyond the Streets and Real Action – that embody Sophie’s belief in the power of literature to effect positive change. There are already several books in the works that will be dedicated to her.
Sophie had an uncanny knack for connecting with people, and her rare blend of cleverness and kindness resulted in a shining enthusiasm for those around her. She could work a room like no one else, and was a constant source of support and encouragement for anyone lucky enough to find themselves bathed in her glow. She did not believe in the concept of a ‘guilty pleasure’ either in art or in life, instead squeezing all the joy out of the day wherever she found it. A Chislehurst-girl-turned-Hampstead-woman, Sophie was an effervescent presence anywhere, at any time – whether that was snuggled on the sofa with Scout, or out having adventures all across the globe.
Sophie passed away on the evening of June 3rd, at the age of 28. The world has lost someone truly special, and she is already very deeply missed by everyone with the good fortune to have known her. Her loved-ones will remember Sophie always – and will try for the rest of our lives to be a little bit more like her, whenever we can.
Memories of Sophie
Sophie was loved by so many that it’s proving difficult to keep track of all the wonderful stories people have about her.
Sophie’s family would love you to share your memories, photos, videos, or any books that Sophie suggested you read.
Should you wish to make a donation in memory of Sophie please do so to our chosen charitable organisation, Thrombosis UK.
Sophie died suddenly and unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism caused by a DVT and Thrombosis UK are doing valuable work to raise awareness of one of the most common but little publicised causes of death in the UK.
You can contribute via the button below:
Thrombosis UK endeavours to reflect all aspects of thrombosis care and research in the UK and was founded because of the lack of awareness amongst the general public, politicians and health professionals, of the dangers of thrombosis. Indeed, thrombosis is arguably the largest cause of death in the UK, and probably in the developed world. The aim of the charity is to raise awareness and educate everyone about thrombosis and its prevention, as well as fund relevant research aimed at filling the gaps that exist in current medical knowledge. It is estimated that around 25,000 people die every year, mostly unnecessarily, as a result of thrombosis associated with hospital admissions alone (the highest risk factor for developing DVT/PE).
Previously almost £10,000 was raised for two charities that reflect Sophie’s passions.
Beyond the Streets is a UK charity working to end sexual exploitation by working directly with women. They offer safe spaces and the opportunity to talk. Sophie passionately believed in the work of Beyond the Streets. She recently worked with them on a number of projects. beyondthestreets.org.uk
Real Action is a specialist education charity. They offer fast-acting, effective courses of basic education, especially in literacy for children and adults. Real Action have transformed the prospects for people living in underprivileged communities. Their work reflects Sophie’s belief in the power of literacy and literature to change lives. realaction.org.uk
Poetry & Quotes
Poignant, inspiring and beautiful poetry and quotes inspired by Sophie, chosen by friends and family.
“Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“ If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”
“ Be brave. Without bravery, you will never know the world as richly as it longs to be known “
“ I like my money right where I can see it… hanging in my closet”
“She has a way with words, red lipstick, and making an entrance”
“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.“
“If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve”
“Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires and a touch that never hurts “
“I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.”
“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes. “
“You’ve changed me, entirely, wholly, irrevocably. Living life is different now. It is all so different now. Missing you has stripped me to a soul level. You have made me richer than ever possible before. I’ve learned that true strength and courage arises when you’ve experienced searing loss and cannot imagine carrying on. I’ve learned that the deepest joy is known by those who have also experienced the deepest pain. I’ve seen that unending grief is really just a sign of an unending love.”
"Love affairs to be had, fjords to be swum in, books to be written. Gilbert’s appetite for life in the wake of her darkest hour really is a thing to behold. She tells me that the author Ann Patchett, a friend, gave her some sage advice. “She said, ‘Liz, Rayya belongs to the eternal now. And some day soon so will you. And that’s true of all of us. You have an infinite amount of time to belong to the eternal with her. But you only have this tiny bit of time to have this experience as a human being on Earth. Don’t lose it by trying to merge with her now. Merge with this, what’s here, the people who are here, what’s in front of you. The weird, strange, heartbreaking thing of being mortal. Do that.
“The good news is that soon we’ll all be dead,” Gilbert laughs cheerily. “And we will all meet up later at some weird soul conference and look back on this and say, ‘Isn’t it hilarious, what we did? Wasn’t that f..king hilarious?’ But for now, it’s time to just do it. And do it fully. This moment of being human is not to be wasted.”
-An extract of an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) in the Australian
by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
by Wendy Cope
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware
Filling Your Gaps
by Pandora Sykes
I’m freezing out here
Here - take my coat
It’s cold in the water
Come - hop in my boat.
My phone’s out of battery
It’s okay - borrow mine.
My babysitter just cancelled
I’m there - I’ve got time.
He’s left me again
I’ve got you - just breathe.
I can’t get through the day
You can - I won’t leave.
I can’t work today
I’ll pick up your slack.
What is kindness to you?
To give, what you lack
by Rosemary Norman
Go to sleep, Mum,
I won’t stop breathing
Suddenly, in the night.
Go to sleep, I won’t
Climb out of my cot and
Mum, I won’t swallow
The pills the doctor gave you or
Put hairpins in electric
Sockets, just go to sleep
I won’t cry
When you take me to school and leave me:
I’ll be happy with other children
My own age.
Sleep, Mum, sleep
Fall in the pond, play with matches,
Run under a lorry or even consider
Sweets from strangers.
No, I won’t
Give you a lot of lip,
Not like some.
I won’t sniff glue,
Fail all my exams,
Get myself pregnant.
I’ll work hard and get a steady/
Really worthwhile job.
I promise, go to sleep.
I’ll never forget
To droop in/phone/write
I need any milk, I’ll yell.
The Sophie Christopher Volunteer Award
Sophie’s career in publishing was hugely important to her and in her five years with Transworld, one of the Penguin Random House companies, she rose rapidly from Press Officer to Senior Publicity Manager.
In honour of her memory, Transworld is setting up The Sophie Christopher Volunteer Award, a sponsored volunteering scheme open to anyone working in publishing and bookselling.
In addition to her outstanding work as a publicist, Sophie made it her mission to improve the lives of others, from co-founding The FLIP, an interview series showcasing exceptional women working in the publishing industry, through to her work with Beyond the Streets, a UK charity working to end sexual exploitation. Sophie’s passions reflected her belief in the power of literacy and literature to change lives.
It is with these interests in mind, along with her love of travel, that Penguin Random House has decided to partner with the award-winning responsible volunteering organisation, people and places) to sponsor a two-week programme in autumn 2020 to support the work of the Treak Community Centre, close to Siem Reap in Cambodia.
The Centre is committed to creating opportunity, not dependency, and provides free, non-formal education and training that supplements and complements the Cambodian state system, offering a nursery, school, library, computer classes and a wide range of skills training. The aim is to help the local people learn new skills and increase their confidence so that they are better equipped to take control of their own futures.
Penguin Random House wants to build and develop a sustainable relationship with the community and plans to sponsor an annual placement to offer consistency and continuity.
Transworld’s Managing Director, Larry Finlay said ‘Sophie was an unstoppable force of positivity and enthusiasm. She is so hugely missed by all who knew her. This Award is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary person and will be just one of the many ways of keeping her cherished memory alive.’
Further details of the programme, how to apply and the selection process can be found by clicking the button below.