Express & Star

Hundreds honour ‘much-loved’ teacher killed before Christmas

Around 100 mourners had to stand outside the chapel and watch the service on TV screens.

A hearse carrying the coffin of Amy Appleton arrives at St John the Evangelist Church in Copthorne

Hundreds of mourners have gathered for the funeral of Amy Appleton, one of two women tragically killed in a small village days before Christmas.

The much-loved teacher was described as a “rock” by her family and her death left pupils at Copthorne Church of England Junior School in mourning.

About 100 people had to stand outside the chapel and watch the service on TV screens because there was not enough room inside.

Ms Appleton, 32, and Sandy Seagrave, 76, were killed in Crawley Down, West Sussex, on December 22 2019 in an attack that left the close community shocked and saddened.

Amy Appleton
Amy Appleton, 32, one of two women killed in Crawley Down (Sussex Police/PA)

Her husband Daniel Appleton, 37, of Hazel Way in Crawley Down, is charged with their murders.

A service led by the Rev Wim Mauritz was held at St Richard’s Chapel, at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium.

Ms Appleton’s coffin arrived at the venue in a black hearse along a route lined with mourners.

A touching message on some flowers apparently from Ms Appleton’s parents read: “To our dearest, darling Amy. Sadly you will be missed but you remain in our hearts and live on forever.”

Rev Mauritz said in a statement: “The death of Amy Appleton has had a huge impact on her family, friends and colleagues as well as the wider school community in Copthorne.

“Amy was a popular and much-loved teacher. Her passion and enthusiasm has had a positive influence on many children, pupils and parents

“It was evident in the outpouring of feeling here today at her funeral and at our school memorial service that was held a few weeks ago.”

Floral tributes to Amy Appleton in Copthorne
Floral tributes to Amy Appleton at St Richard’s Chapel, Surrey & Sussex Crematorium (Steve Parsons/PA)

Rev Mauritz said he was inspired to speak about the idea of light shining in the darkness because one of Ms Appleton’s favourite songs was “My Lighthouse”.

He added: “It is a song that expresses that we do not need to be afraid of what the future might bring but instead we can trust in God’s light, love and his promise to lead us through the storm.

“Amy and Sandy Seagrave’s deaths were a real tragedy but the message of the darkness not being able to overcome the light of Christ offers us all real hope.

“My prayer for Amy’s family, friends and colleagues is that amidst our questions, sadness and grief this hope will give us a sense of comfort and peace.”

Daniel Appleton has yet to enter a plea to the two murder charges, but a provisional trial date has been set for July 6.

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