Funeral For Sisters Killed In Morocco

Two sisters who were killed in a car crash while on an adventure holiday of a lifetime in Morocco were today described as the ''brightest of stars'' at their funeral.

Former Dorset students Tara Darlington, 23, and her sister Pippa, 21, were remembered by their loved ones at a service held at All Saints' Church in their home town of Whiteparish, between Romsey and Salisbury.

The ''beautiful'' sisters died last month in a road accident near the city of Rabat as they were both due to enter their final year of study at their respective universities.

Their father Patrick, 62, said his daughters had ''made the world a better place to be in''.

Mr Darlington and his wife Emma, 52, arrived at the church near their home on foot. The girls also leave a 15-year-old brother, Oscar, who was supported by friends during the service.

Hundreds of people packed into the church to hear a number of moving tributes.

Mr Darlington said: ''Our darlings, who would ever have thought that you would not return from Africa, that we would be mourning your loss and looking back at the wonderful girls that you were, rather than looking forwards, at all the possibilities that were opening up for you.

''Mummy and I are so very sorry. We have been cheated. It seems so unfair. We loved you so much.

''Each of you were the brightest of stars - burnt out in your prime.''

During the service seven readings were given by friends and the girls' godparents.

The Rev Nils Bersweden gave the address and there was music including the songs All You Need is Love by the Beatles, Driving Along In My Automobile by Chuck Berry and Elgar's Salut d'Amour performed on the cello by the girls' friend Angus Reid.

Mr Darlington, a former wine merchant and director of the Yellow Bike Company, said his family would mourn the loss of the girls for the rest of their lives, but that today they wanted to celebrate their lives.

He described Tara as ''buzzing with energy, joy, fun and new ideas''.

''You (Tara) were strong and vibrant, like a little lioness,'' Mr Darlington said.

''You were fiercely loyal, had a quick wit, and were full of love for the world and what it had to offer. We are so pleased you saw so much of the world.''

He said his younger daughter Pippa was ''soft, kind, beautiful, sensitive, loyal and incredibly loving''.

''Pippa loved to travel, meet different people and learn their ways,'' he added.

''She loved the sun and being by the sea collecting shells. Tall, elegant, willowy, with a gracious swan-like neck and perfect hour glass figure, Pippi had wonderful eyes - you could look right into her soul.''

He ended the tribute saying his daughters would have been ''amazed'' by how many people had attended the service.

''It is clear that they touched many,'' he said. ''We were very lucky to have two such golden girls.''

The two wooden coffins adorned with flowers were carried from the church by their friends before they were placed into a hearse side by side.

The sisters were driving home on September 17 with their friend Joshua Stump, 21, from Salisbury, who was seriously injured in the crash.

Tara was studying media, journalism and sociology at Goldsmiths University in south east London, while her younger sister studied law at Newcastle University.

Their rented car collided with another vehicle on the same road where Tara's godfather, David Windmill, said there had been 25 other deaths in the two previous weeks.

Mr Windmill, 63, from Edinburgh, said the sisters were both well-travelled and had been to Australia and Europe, and Tara had also been to America, but they were drawn to Morocco and Africa as part of ''taking on the world''.

''This was another part of them exploring life,'' Mr Windmill said.

''Nobody would want this to happen. It was just one of those very very tragic accidents, I have to say in a country which does have a huge number of road accidents.

''I think people should go and explore and should go and look at different cultures but, for example, in the two weeks before they died 25 people had been killed on that piece of road in Morocco, so if there is one lesson there, it is just to be aware.''

He added: ''The initial shock was obviously awful. The suddenness of it all was just terrible.

''But what's really impressed me is the way the village and the way Tara's friends have come around (to the house) just allowing the family to grieve but grieve in a positive way.''

The sisters had been keeping in touch with their family and friends using their mobiles.

A friends told the service that one of the last texts Tara and Pippa had sent him said they were about to go horse riding on the beach at sunset and that this was how he was going to remember them.

Follow the service the family said in a statement: ''We are so grateful for the amazing support, generosity and kindness everyone has shown us.

''The service today was a lovely tribute to our beautiful daughters and Oscar's sisters, Tara and Pippa, and we would like to thank so many friends who helped with it.

''We hope they will be remembered for how they lived life. We will always be proud of them.''

The sisters used to be students at Canford School in Wimborne. After their deaths, the school released this statement: 

"Tara and Pippa, who left in 2007 and 2009 respectively, both boarded and were popular and well-known pupils. With sunny personalities and a positive outlook, they contributed much to school life."

Headmaster John Lever said:

"Tara and Pippa achieved a great deal during their Canford years, both academically and in extra-curricular life. They left with bright futures ahead of them, Tara studying journalism in London and Pippa law at Newcastle University.

“Our thoughts are with both families at this very difficult time."


Tara Darlington is a former Canford School pupil