Hundreds gather in Hanley for funeral of 20-year-old Andrea Dursch
HUNDREDS of grieving friends and relatives packed out a church to pay their last respects to a 'bubbly' 20-year-old girl who died after being struck down with pneumonia.
It was standing room only at Hanley's Elim Pentecostal Church at a service to celebrate the life of Andrea Dursch yesterday.
Andrea, of Abbotts Drive, Sneyd Green, died on August 25 just two weeks after falling ill.
Family members were overcome with grief as Andrea's coffin was carried in to Aaliyah's I Miss You which was followed by a rendition of Amazing Grace.
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Her uncle Stembridge Banda and aunt Anita Banda paid tribute during an emotional service which was led by pastors Ben Casey Mwansa, John Appiah and Pastor Eddison.
Stembridge, aged 40m told the congregation: "Andrea was a very bubbly person she was always happy and eager to please and help everybody.
"She had plans with her fiance Chris and together they were supposed to do whatever they wanted to achieve together in life.
"She had such a short life but a very happy life.
"She always had an infectious smile and a lot of friends who are going to dearly miss her."
The Sentinel reported earlier this month how Andrea's brother Mitch, aged 21, sister Gina, aged 16, and 23-year-old fiance Chris Melia launched an appeal to raise £4,500 to meet the cost of the funeral.
Stembridge added: "I really would like to extend my gratitude for all the help that everybody has afforded and given.
"Thank you very much for what you have done to help. I don't know how I could ever repay you."
Andrea, a former pupil of St Peter's High School, in Penkhull, had worked at Alton Towers for a short while but later secured a job at Scotts clothes shop in the Potteries Shopping Centre, in Hanley, where she met her fiance Chris.
She went on to study tourism at Newcastle College and was due to marry later this year.
Chris, who lived with Andrea, said: "I wasn't half the man I am today until I met Andrea and now I have got to try and get myself back together so I can do what she wanted me to do.
"I would like to thank everyone for being a part of Andrea's life and my life too."
Mitch added: "I find it hard to accept the fact that she has gone but I know she will always be in our hearts. "I just wish that I could see her beautiful smile again."
The congregation sang hymns including Rock Of Ages and then Sings My Soul.
The service was followed by interment at Carmountside Cemetery and a celebration of life at Cobridge Community Centre.
To pay your respects to Andrea, email email@example.com.