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Mother’s tribute to heroic daughter who died trying to save her boyfriend

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 29, 2012

  • Michelle Rosser with a picture of her beloved daughter Sophie

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As she hung up the telephone in the living room of her mother's home in North Hykeham, Michelle Rosser's head was spinning.

She had just spoken to her ex-husband Julian for the first time in about a year.

He'd told her their daughter, Sophie, 23, was critically ill in Royal London Hospital.

She was on a ventilator following a fire at the block of flats in Isle of Dogs, East London, which she shared with her boyfriend Oscar Silva, 29.

As Sophie returned from a birthday party, she had seen smoke billowing from the floor below her home.

She called Oscar alerting him to the fire and telling him to wake up their flat mate and get out.

Without a thought for her own safety, it is believed the 23-year-old, who grew up and went to school in Lincoln, then ran inside to warn other residents of the danger.

But she was overcome by smoke and collapsed in a stairwell.

Mrs Rosser, 59, faced a race against time to reach her sick daughter's bedside.

Without a car and with an elderly mother to care for, Mrs Rosser desperately tried to get herself ready for a train journey to the capital.

For 50 minutes she tried frantically to arrange for her brother to come to North Hykeham to care for her mother and gather supplies for her trip to London.

But the telephone rang again.

It was Julian. This time his voice was quiet. The words that came next will ring in Mrs Rosser's ears forever.

Sophie had died. She'd suffered severe airway burns and passed away. Sophie's boyfriend and dad were at the hospital.

Mrs Rosser had been unable to get to her in time.

"When Julian called it was such a shock," she said.

"I asked him what the extent was but he didn't know too much.

"The second time he called, he asked me if I was sitting down and I knew that he was going to tell me something terrible.

"He told me that our little girl had died.

"It was just so out of the blue, I felt terrible and was in a panic.

"I was just in total shock, I was shaking and nauseous.

"I now wake up every morning thinking 'is this real?'

"Both of my girls were my life and it now feels like half my life has gone.

"I don't know how I am going to get through it."

Sophie, who was due to start an interior design course just days after the tragic event, had a Sunday morning ritual of speaking to her mother on the telephone.

"I just long to be able to pick up the phone and ring her," said Mrs Rosser.

"I was going to ring her that morning before I got that call from my ex-husband.

"The aftermath is the hardest. The months and years to come are going to be so hard for us all."

The tragic events of August 26 have left Mrs Rosser mourning the loss of a "bubbly and energetic" young girl.

"We decided to come to Lincoln when she was eight years old," she said.

"She studied at Manor Leas Primary School for a couple of years and then went to Sir Robert Pattinson Academy through secondary school and also her A Levels.

"She had jobs while studying too at Starbucks on Tritton Road and the cantonese restaurant in Newark Road – she worked so hard.

"Sometimes I thought she took on too much.

"She was a very bubbly person and always had a smile on her face.

"She was very petite and pretty and she really loved dancing. Sophie did ballet from the age of three to the age of 16 and went to the Hykeham School of Dance.

"Dancing was her therapy and her fantasy."

Sophie leaves behind her mother and older sister Annabelle in North Hykeham and her father in Cardiff.

"Sophie got on very well with her older sister, they were very close.

"In fact, Annabelle was probably Sophie's first real playmate," added Mrs Rosser.

"She was so kind and would always give to others.

"When she was younger and went to parties, she would always give her party bag to her sister.

"Sophie didn't want her to feel left out.

"She loved to please – she was a people pleaser.

"They were so creative. I can remember one Christmas in the garden they set up a little grotto out of a large cardboard box and used all my cotton wool as the fake snow."

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  • Adrian1208  |  October 02 2012, 1:01AM

    Must be very hard to loose a child, unthinkable to most of us. I know it's not much anyone can say to ease your pain, but time is a big healer. I wish Sophie's family all the best!!

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  • LincolnFran  |  September 30 2012, 9:39AM

    Such a devastating series of events. My heart goes out to you Mrs Rosser and to the rest of your family. Take care

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