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Dover says a final goodbye to inspirational teen Kelly Turner who died of cancer amid £1million fundraising campaign for lifesaving treatment

By Mercury reporter

Loved ones have said their final goodbyes to teenager Kelly Turner at her funeral, which has just finished. 

The 17 year-old, who sparked a £1 million fundraising campaign for lifesaving cancer treatment in New York, lost her battle against the disease on Monday, November 6. 

Her parents, family, friends and a mass of supporters from across the Dover district have just left the funeral service at St Mary The Virgin Church in Dover's Cannon Street.

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Kelly Turner, who died on Monday, November 6

Kelly Turner, who died on Monday, November 6

The hearse, carrying her coffin pulled up at 11am to the sound of scooter revs and hoots in tribute to her. There was a round of applause for parents Martin and Linda, who were both wearing red. Both spoke in memory of their "best little friend" and recounted happy moments in her life. 

A song specially written for Kelly Turner after she died was also performed.

Deal singer Rebecca Robinson wrote Brightest Star for Kelly and the fundraising song for her, Proud,  was played as introductory music.

Breath taking Kelly Turner's specially designed coffin

Breath taking: Kelly Turner's specially designed coffin

The hearse, carrying Kelly Turner's coffin arrives at St Mary the Virgin Church, Dover

The hearse, carrying Kelly Turner's coffin arrives at St Mary the Virgin Church, Dover

As well as family tributes, speakers included Richard Esdale, who produced Proud, and regular fundraiser John Ashman who spoke of his Jackass style challenges, which he is continuing in her name.

Pallbearers take Kelly Turner's coffin in to St Mary the Virgin Church for her funeral

Pallbearers take Kelly Turner's coffin in to St Mary the Virgin Church for her funeral

Three ministers conducted the service.

They are the Rev John Walker, team rector for the Dover Town Group Ministry the Rev Gordon Newton, retired minister at the Beacon Church and Christian Centre in London Road, Dover, and the Rev Josias de Souza, mission priest for Buckland and Charlton.

Proud and brave Martin and Linda Turner arrive for the funeral of their daughter Kelly

Proud and brave: Martin and Linda Turner arrive for the funeral of their daughter Kelly

Kelly was a sixth former at Astor College, and before that attended St Edmund's Catholic School. Staff and pupils were among those to pay their respects.

pallbearers proudly carry Kelly's specially designed coffin

pallbearers proudly carry Kelly's specially designed coffin

Her family will have been made proud by the large turnout, which spilled out onto the street.

Her family released this picture of the stunning artwork on her coffin on Tuesday and when it arrived and was taken from the hearse, it took the breath away of mourners.

The family of Kelly Turner released this picture of the artwork on her coffin ahead of her funeral today

The family of Kelly Turner released this picture of the artwork on her coffin ahead of her funeral today

A cavalcade of scooters and motorcycles is now to escort the hearse to a private ceremony at Barham crematorium.

A wake will now take place, again for the public, at Dover Town Hall from 1.30pm.

Scooter owners, some who will have taken part in ride outs for Kelly, gather for her funeral before escorting the hearse to Barham Crematorium

Scooter owners, some who will have taken part in ride outs for Kelly, gather for her funeral before escorting the hearse to Barham Crematorium

Dover mayor Neil Rix was among those attending. Before the service he said: “It has been quite remarkable how the people of Dover have supported Kelly Turner and her family. The council will be making a donation for research into the rare form of cancer suffered by Kelly.”

He added: “Kelly was a truly inspirational young woman who has touched the hearts of us all in Dover.”

A total 35 scooters pulled up outside the church ahead of the pre-arranged escort to Barham. 

John Anderson, left, and Kristian Cooke. Part of escort of 35 motorbikes and scooters at Kelly Turner's funeral

John Anderson, left, and Kristian Cooke. Part of escort of 35 motorbikes and scooters at Kelly Turner's funeral

Father and daughter John and Joanna Nigh were among the mourners. 

Mr Nigh said: "We were told to wear colours and we put ribbons on our scooters and felt that we had to turn up and pay respects to such a lovely young lady." 

John and Joanna Nigh at Kelly Turner's funeral. They dressed the scooter in bright colours especially for the teen

John and Joanna Nigh at Kelly Turner's funeral. They dressed the scooter in bright colours especially for the teen

Details of the funeral programme came earlier this week from Kelly’s parents Martin and Linda who said they wanted to thank the people of Dover for their support.

Supporters were plunged into sorrow when the 17-year-old died after her two-year-battle with a rare teenage cancer called desmoplastic small round cell tumours.

It had followed 17 months of fundraising by the community to help pay for the £1 million specialist treatment in New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The money will now go to help other victims of the condition.

Mourners are asked not to provide flowers but instead donate to this new campaign, named the Kelly Turner Foundation which will be formally set up on New Year's Day.

In the meantime, donations can be made online here.

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