Heartfelt tribute to ‘princess’ whose smile ‘lit up a room’

The funeral of Shakara Taylor (below) took place at St Chad's Church in Poulton. Shakara's girlfriends carry her coffin into church.
The funeral of Shakara Taylor (below) took place at St Chad's Church in Poulton. Shakara's girlfriends carry her coffin into church.
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They came in their hundreds to say a final farewell to a “princess”.

Amid a sea of pink corsages, ribbons and flowers, Shakara Taylor’s closest friends carried her coffin into St Chad’s Church, in Poulton.

Shakara Taylor

Shakara Taylor

The 31-year-old former Grange Park gala queen’s white coffin was adorned with pink ribbon while a group of her closest friends, known as The Irons, wore pink corsages.

It was followed by scores of people, some with pink ribbons in their hair, others in biker gear in homage to her days riding with her dad on his motorcycle.

As more than 400 people packed into the church, Shakara’s stepfather Colin Kelly described her as a princess and the centre of attention.

And her funeral brought part of Poulton to a halt, as shoppers stopped to see the coffin placed into the back of a white horse-drawn glass carriage for its final journey to Carleton Crematorium.

Mr Kelly said: “How can someone so small touch so many people?

“To all of us she was a beautiful and wonderful person, and we believe she still is.”

The church was decorated with photographs of Shakara, 31, with her friends, family and fiancée, David Ravenscroft, as mourners heard the tributes.

Mr Kelly said: “I can’t help but think she’s up there giggling down on us.

“She could light up a room with her smile and you could hear her laughing from miles away. She had an esteemed determination and from an early age we always knew she was going to make her mark.

“Everyone loved her and no-one had a bad word to say about her.”

Mr Kelly said Shakara’s friends meant so much to her, and one of the Irons, Nina Smith, described her as a “clever, beautiful, talented young lady”.

She added: “Everyone knew and loved Shakara.

“I hope you know how special you were to each and every one of us Iron Ladies.

“You were a beautiful diamond who cheered us all up with your beautiful smile. You were, and always will be, just perfect.”

Mr Kelly said Shakara was at her happiest in the last three and a half years after moving to the Cayman Islands with the love of her life, Mr Ravenscroft.

“She packed a lifetime into those three years,” he added.

“Dave shared the best years of Shakara’s life with her. He made her happy and for that our family will always be eternally grateful.”

Leading the funeral yesterday, the Rev Martin Keighley described Shakara as “glamorous but vulnerable” and “irreplaceable”.

Shakara, formerly of Dinmore Avenue, Poulton, had battled with bi-polar disorder and depression.

Her body was found outside an eight-storey apartment block in the Seven Mile Beach area of the Cayman Islands on May 29. Cayman police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Mourners included Blackpool Football Club’s Owen Oyston and Club Sanuk boss Peter Bowden who performed Ave Maria during the service.

They left the church to Leona Lewis’ Footsteps in the Sand.