A Portsmouth woman of pure sunshine who leaves a gaping hole

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There are people out there who may only come into your life for a short time, but your memory of them will last a lifetime.

My column this week is about a woman I hardly knew, but who I will never forget.

I met her in October 2012 at a Halloween party where we were both dressed as zombies and we bonded over a mutual enthusiasm for fancy dress and vodka.

Her name was Sam Dickson and, after 36 years of living life to the absolute maximum, she has died.

I only met her a couple of times through mutual friends while she was living in Portsmouth.

That was before she embarked on an adventure that would see her travelling around South America as a bus driver, mechanic, tour guide, confidante, and the life and soul of everybody’s journey.

I have already said I didn’t know her well, but she was pure sunshine.

She was kind and bright and funny, with a smile – under all that zombie make-up – that was infectious.

She had a twinkle in her eye that was second to none.

When she left it was a whirlwind of planning, passing bus-driving tests, mechanics’ tests, quitting her job with the Ministry of Defence and embarking on her adventure.

But whenever that whirlwind touched down for a little while, in some far-flung place with enough internet for Facebook to work, she would be in touch with her friends.

We had made plans to get the gang back together when she returned home to Southsea.

And I wasn’t the only one looking forward to making better friends with her.

For me, the tragedy is I will not now get that opportunity.

For her good friends and family – who are all united in their tributes of the girl with the adventurous spirit, who made everyone’s lives better just by being in them, and who died doing exactly what she loved – will hopefully find comfort in the way she touched the hearts of those who knew her, even for a second.

There are those who come into your life for a short time, but who will never really leave it.

Rest in peace, Sam.