It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Sophie Birtles, of year 8, passed away on Thursday, 9th June 2016.
Sophie had been diagnosed with Juvenile Sandhoff Disease. She started at St. Ninian’s High School in September 2014, coming to us from Onchan Primary School.
On entering year 7, Sophie immediately started to create a big impression. She had a huge zest for life and, despite the increasing frustrations Sophie had to endure with almost every aspect of every day, she was never one for giving up and letting life drift by around her. On the contrary, Sophie remained determined throughout her illness that she would exert control over whatever she did.
In a very short time, Sophie became an intrinsic part of her school community. Her sense of humour was irrepressible. Anything slapstick or mischievous and the room would be lit up by her smile and her laugh. Sophie loved dressing up, and getting others to dress up with her – friends and staff alike. It was quite normal to see Sophie having a laugh in her red, glittery wig, often while singing her favourite Disney songs, to which she knew all the words.
Sophie was passionate about many things – animals, pets, food! But, most of all, Sophie was passionate about her family. And it has been been with the love and support of Sophie’s family that she has been able to enjoy so many rich experiences, in which school has hopefully played a small part.
Over the past week students and staff have been supported by CRUSE bereavement counselors. If this news has affected you in any way, please do contact the school and we can put you in touch with the support services.
I am sure that I speak for all when I say that the whole of St. Ninian’s High School, and the school’s wider community, wish to pass on their sincere condolences to Sophie’s family and friends.
All those who came to know Sophie will never forget her. She showed a bravery and a strength that will not be asked of many of us. She will be greatly missed.
A.C. Fox, Head Teacher.