WITH a pair of her favourite green shoes laid on top of her coffin, friends and family said farewell to the inspirational Cwmbran teenager Emily Clark.

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The 18-year-old, who beat a rare form of blood cancer – Burkitt’s lymphoma – on two occasions, passed away on Saturday, March 12 following complications due to breathing difficulties.

Llanyrafon Methodist Church was full to capacity on Monday as close to 200 mourners, including students from her former school, Croesyceiliog Comprehensive, filled the hall to pay their respects.

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Two members of the clergy – Reverends to the bone marrow transplant campaigner – Cathy Gale and Rhiannon Francis, who worked as the chaplain at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which treated Emily – delivered eulogies. 

Reverend Gale said: “She dared to be different. And she did – she dared to be different all the time.

“Faced with all the struggles and hurdles in her life, she shone and she dazzled.

“Her inner sparkle could not be contained.”

Emily was a devoted Christian. The service started with The Power of Love and the aspect of her faith was a constant theme, along with her inspirational nature.

This was followed by Calon Lân and a reading from Corinthians, before the service ended with the hymn Be Thou My Vision.

Reverend Gale added: “During the Easter service, I read the line about Jesus and how death could not contain him. I thought it was fitting for Emily – death cannot contain her.

“As part ofThanks to her Remission Possible blogs, which she ultimately proved was possible, there was a spiked increase in bone marrow donations from the South East Wales area was noted by the bone marrow register.

“And through her, four people have found donors thanks to Emily and her campaigning. But I know she was very proud that she had managed to remain cancer free until the end,” she added.

Reverend Francis, who spent time with Miss Clark during her time in hospital, noted at how exceptional and inspirational her friend was.

She said: “Just spending five minutes with Emily and you would begin to get a glimpse of the wonderful person that she was.

“She was exceptional. She was driven. She was motivated. She was loved. She was inspirational. 

“I was very proud to call her my friend.

“She was named as the 37th coolest woman in Wales largely due to her blogs and her campaigning. 

“I didn’t know many of the 36 in front of her, but she beat Katherine Jenkins and Nessa from Gavin and Stacey,” said Reverend Francis.

As mourners left the hall, the reverends requested that they took with them a button as a reminder to make a difference in the teenager’s absence.

The reverends added that, in words chosen by Miss Clark herself before her death, to call her an inspiration would remain true providing people were inspired to make a difference for themselves.

A committal service with Miss Clark’s family and close friends in attendance was held following the ceremony in Llanyrafon, at Gwent Crematorium, where the hymn Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer was sung.