Touching memorial planned to mark one-year anniversary of Tadcaster's tragic Sonny Lang

A memorial celebration has been planned to mark one year since the tragic death of popular Tadacaster young woman Sonny Lang.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 4:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 4:36 pm
Sonny with her mother Anna

Sonny lost her life-long battle with Cystic Fibrosis on Feburary 9 last year at the age of just 23.

Her death sparked an outpouring of grief across the Tadcaster community, culminating in a successful campaign for the town's temporary footbridge to be lovingly renamed as 'Sonny's bridge'.

On Saturday, February 11, a memorial celebration will be at Tadcaster Albion's club house, the team both Sonny and her mother Anna avidly supported and worked for.

Sonny Lang

All the money raised from the event will go towards building a memorial garden and a bench in Sonny's name while a Just Giving page has been set up to help reach the £2000 target.

Sonny's mother Anna-Marie Clarke said that plans for the celebration are still at an early stage but said she would be delighted to see as many of Sonny's friends there as possible.

She said: "I think we always knew we were going to have a memorial celebration for Sonny, in fact we will always have one in future.

"She is very much loved in Tadcaster still and, on top of that, she's very much missed now so all her friends will want to carry on remembering her forever.

Sonny Lang

"Apart from us all meeting up, the plans are still under way and it's being organised by one of her very best and dear friends, Paul Sherwood.

"Paul spoke at her funeral and played a major part in organising that as well. There's also going to be a raffle to help raise funds for the memorial garden."

Sonny was diagnosed with the genetic condition Cystic Fibrosis when she was 13-months-old with doctors believing that her illness was already 'beyond redemption'.

But when she was four-years-old, Sonny became the youngest person with the condition to successfully undergo a heart and lung transplant.

Sonny then battled a series of setbacks from heart attacks to crippling arthritis until her lungs collapsed during a holiday in Crete in 2014.

Her health deteriorated further when she was rushed to hospital on January 31, 2016 after catching a virus and she eventually died after almost ten days in hospital.

Tributes quickly poured in for the bubbly young gymnast with a campaign then launched to name Tadcaster's temporary footbridge in her honour.

Both the town's MP, Nigel Adams and Tadcaster Albion chairman Matt Gore praised the idea, saying it was "fitting" that the bridge carried her name.

Speaking in February last year, Mr Gore said: "Naming the bridge after Sonny means everything to us and everything to her mum Anna and dad Marc. Every time somebody crosses the bridge they will be reminded of her.

"Sonny would have loved this. Tadcaster is a special place and the community is second to none, there's a special feeling in this town."

However, with Tadcaster Bridge set to reopen on January 27, the footbridge, which is home to many love locks left for Sonny, will be removed.

Anna said she thought it was important that all of Sonny's close friends have somewhere else to go instead to remember her.

She said: "The place is undecided as yet, the main aim is to raise funds and when we know what we have achieved, we can then deal with where, what will go there, bench, flower beds etc

"Tadcaster Albion's owners are always behind us and have been all year. They've been exceptionally kind to me and are always there should I need a listening ear or a hand with anything at all.

"The players likewise, past and present, are always a source of joy to be around, they make me feel happy in low times. Also the fans, visiting fans and other clubs have all been very kind.

"It would mean the world to us all to have a place to go, to share things with Sonny."