A GROUP of women are reuniting at this year’s Race for Life in memory of an old schoolfriend who lost her battle with cancer.
Rachel Bardsley, whose maiden name was Picksley, went to Portsmouth High School for Girls.
She died in April this year after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
She left behind her husband Stuart and seven-year-old daughter Flora.
But Rachel had been living in Cyprus for years – so many of the girls hadn’t seen her until she came back to the area for treatment.
Now, around 20 of them will run the 5k route in this Sunday’s Race for Life in her memory.
Verity Lush, 35, from Kirby Road in North End, who has organised the reunion, said: ‘Rachel was very sporty and very vivacious and very smiley. She was just a lovely person. Even when she was ill, she was still just as bubbly as ever. Through Facebook I managed to get in touch with quite a few people from the school. That set the ball rolling.
‘I’m really excited, I can’t wait to see everyone.
‘It will be quite emotional. It would have been nice to have had a reunion for happy reasons.
‘But it’s great to have such a positive response.
‘I didn’t know if people would be up for it. Lots of people are having to travel down really far.’
Verity added that Rachel would have been very touched to know that her old schoolfriends were making such an effort for her.
‘She probably would have been quite amazed,’ she said.
‘I don’t think she would have thought in a million years that she would have had that effect on people.’
The girls are also fundraising to raise money to buy a trophy called The Rachel Picksley Sports Award.
Rachel was a talented lacrosse player while at school, and the trophy will be presented to a pupil on an annual basis.
And they are producing a book of memories of Rachel to give to her daughter to keep. The Race for Life takes place on Southsea Common this Sunday. To sponsor the girls visit justgiving.com/Team-Ex-PHS.