THERE was barely a dry eye as more than 300 people turned out to say goodbye to a mum who was always smiling.
The close-knit community of West Leigh went to St Thomas a Becket Church in Warblington to celebrate the life of Louisa Hirst, who lost her seven-year battle with breast cancer last month.
People looked on respectfully as a horse-drawn carriage carried the coffin to church.
Family members each carried a red rose for Louisa.
The 42-year-old mum-of-four, of Anderson Close, was described as the life and soul of every party.
Father Paul Miles-Knight, who led the service, said: ‘This is the kind of congregation every vicar dreams of.
‘What brings you here is Lou – a lady so special to so many people.
‘She always had the biggest smile on her face and her door was always open. Everyone was welcome with Lou.’
He added: ‘Such was Lou’s commitment to people, she was training to be a midwife.
‘She delivered several babies already in and around Leigh Park.’
Father Miles-Knight described her a ‘real fighter’.
‘Her illness she faced without a single moan,’ he added.
Louisa leaves behind children Fontaine, 23, Floyd, 22, Dylon, 19, and Sonny, 16, as well as her husband Daren, whom she married four years ago at Warblington.
Floyd said: ‘You were the rock in the family and the one who always brightened up everyone’s day. I’m not going to say goodbye because I know you will always be there, running through my veins.’
Her sister Elaine said: ‘Go chill and have a good party upstairs.’
Georgina, also Louisa’s sister, said: ‘Life was on the up until cancer decided to chuck a wild card in. But that did not stop you smiling.’
Sonny described his mum as an ‘amazing inspiration’.
‘She will never be forgotten from people’s hearts,’ he said.
The coffin was carried to the cemetery to Beautiful, by Christina Aguilera.