Hundreds of mourners gathered to remember a “vibrant girl” whose fight against cancer has sparked a national campaign for change.
Amber Rose Cliff, 25, died last weekend after a four-year battle against cervical cancer.
Her family said she first experienced symptoms from the age of 18 but despite asking for a smear test, her requests were declined as they are only given to women over the age of 25.
Amber’s cancer was discovered after she went for a private smear test
In the week following her tragic death, more than 170,000 people have signed a petition in her name calling for a change in the rules that would allow cervical cancer screening to be made available for high risk groups from the age of 18.
At her funeral, Amber, who was from Ashbrooke, arrived at Sunderland Crematorium this morning in a bright pink coffin, pulled by a horse-drawn carriage, surrounded by huge floral displays.
Every time you saw her, she would give you a cuddle and told you that she loved you,Charlie Thompson
Many of Amber’s friends and family followed a request to wear pink at the service.
Ellie Goulding’s ‘Still Falling For You’ was played as the celebration of her life began, with photographs taken of her and her family, on nights out and at events including weddings and her graduation, shown throughout.
The doors of the building had to be left open so that the huge amount of people stood outside who could not get into the hall could still hear the service, which was led by family friend Charlie Thompson.
He spoke of how Amber, a “vibrant girl” who went to Thornhill School, had gone on to study business management at university after leaving Bede College and had remained mates with her primary school friends.
They had told him of how she had a great sense of humour, and was a selfless and “very loyal” friend and had enjoyed going to concerts and holidays in Madeira and Ibiza, and even though she had been unwell, went to great efforts to decorate a log cabin they had visited to mark a birthday.
“Every time you saw her, she would give you a cuddle and told you that she loved you,” he said.
He also shared memories from her colleagues at Gentoo, who said she was a “beautiful girl, inside and out, had a smile that was infectious, and was loving and very caring,” adding she would always recall stories of her adventures with her friends.
“She was the light of the office” and an inspiration, they said.
The service also heard of Amber’s love for horses, while her brother Josh, 27, who has headed up the “tremendous” campaign, and sister Cameron, 19, also recounted their childhood with their “amazing sister.”
Amber’s boyfriend Charlie had also passed on his memories, from playing A’ll Stars Mr and Mrs’ together and how they enjoyed “two beautiful holidays together, and treasure the pictures and videos” he has from those times.
He also told of how Amber would still pamper and look after him even when she was ill, and how he had wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
The service concluded with Boom Boom Boom by the Outhere Brothers.
It was followed by a gathering at the Barnes, where a collection was held for Cancer Research.
Amber, from Ashbrooke, who also leaves mum Donna, had visited her GP on more than 10 occasions with symptoms, but because she was under the age where smear tests are routinely given, she was not offered a check.
At the age of 21, she paid for one to be carried out privately, which found she had cancer, and her death, at just 25, has sparked an appeal calling for a change to the NHS rules.
The Change.org petition, called Make the cervical screening option available from 18 to high risk groups, asks that women who show symptoms of the cancer are checked if they ask.
It will be delivered to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The campaign can also be followed on Twitter via @Ambers_Law and the appeal also has a Facebook page under the same name.