‘Special Sophie really touched all our hearts’

YOUNG VOLUNTEER:  From left, Shirley Moore, with Laura Allen, and Tony and Carmel Bavington.
YOUNG VOLUNTEER: From left, Shirley Moore, with Laura Allen, and Tony and Carmel Bavington.

The family of a charity volunteer have said she would have been “astounded” after a training room was opened in her memory.

The Befriending Scheme in Sudbury has named the room at its base above Northcroft Social Club in The Croft after Sophie Bavington, from Great Cornard, who died at the age of 23 in June, 2012.

On Friday, the room, which will be used to run life skills courses for people with learning disabilities and employment training, was officially opened and a plaque unveiled in recognition of the valuable work Sophie carried out at the charity.

“Sophie really touched all our hearts and we felt this would be a fitting tribute to her,” said Shirley Moore, chief executive of the charity.

“The room will provide a great service to vulnerable people who are often forgotten or sidelined.”

Sophie began helping out at the Befriending Scheme in 2007 and was well-known for her great sense of fun.

Her mother Carmel, assistant headteacher at Thomas Gainsborough School, said Sophie had a gift for making people feel special.

“She would have been so honoured to have a room named after her – she would have been astounded,” said Mrs Bavington, from Bures Road.

“She was very modest and would not have expected this. I think she would have found it quite funny.”

During her life, Sophie, who also worked at Hazell Court care home in Acton Lane, was named as Babergh District Council’s Young Volunteer of the Year.

In recognition of this, the charity held its first Sophie Bavington Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

Five youngsters, aged between 17 and 23, were nominated for their commitment and contribution to the Befriending Scheme and Laura Allen, from Great Cornard, was presented with the award by Sophie’s father, Tony.

“It was very difficult to choose a winner, especially as it is the first award and Sophie’s death is still very close to us,” said Mr Bavington.

“All those nominated are winners in our eyes.”