Sarah Elizabeth Groves was born in Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester on the summer solstice 1988 and lived her early years in Alderley Edge and Knutsford in Cheshire and latterly in Guernsey. She attended Mt. Carmel School in Alderley Edge (now the Alderley Edge School for Girls); Blanchelande College in Guernsey; St Mary’s Ascot (for 7 years) and finally Chelsea College of Art in London. She worked in various administrative rôles before becoming a fully qualified fitness instructor at the Old Government House Hotel, Guernsey. Her true passions in life were fitness and art.
On 6th April 2013, Sarah was tragically murdered on a house boat in Kashmir, India. Although only 24 years old, Sarah touched an incredible number of people with her selfless nature and infectious smile during her short lifetime. She was a source of kindness and inspiration for many, many people - something that became even more apparent after her passing.
Sarah's Story - A girl who inspired thousands
Written by one of Sarah's best friends, Fabiana Harrington, in 2014
Sarah was no ordinary person. Everyone knew she was kind and generous and different. But no one knew the extent of how much she did for others on a daily basis. She acted as a safety net for people she barely knew, or as a councilor and loyal friend to people who needed extra love and reassurance. She helped people build their self esteem by going the extra mile to talk them into believing in themselves and she stood up for people if they were being put down. She loved everyone she met as if she was meeting a long lost friend, and she was generous beyond belief.
Sarah set up a beautiful Facebook page with one of her best friends Lucy Dennis, called The Bright Side of Life, where she posted inspirational and uplifting photos and quotes. Even if she was feeling down herself, she would post inspiring quotes on her Facebook to ‘make sure everyone had a little positivity in their day’.
Sarah never judged anyone. She saw past social boundaries, and past people’s appearances – instead, she looked directly into people’s hearts and souls. She never saw any bad in anyone, as she believed that everyone was capable of love and change. That was why she was so selfless. She wanted to dedicate her life to helping others, and she was only at the very beginning of her journey.
Sarah was also an incredibly talented artist. Her art was full of inspirational and healing quotes and patterns; it was a reflection of her soul. It wasn’t art with a commercial drive, but a drive to create something beautiful and meaningful. Once again, epitomizing what Sarah was about.
After finishing her arts Foundation course at Chelsea College of Arts, Sarah became a personal trainer in Guernsey. She also trained as a Body Balance instructor. She aimed to mentor and heal people by helping them to train, so that they could develop self love and belief. She saw every experience in her life as “character shaping”, helping her to become the person she was “ever striving to become”. Her work as a personal trainer was another stepping stone her path to gain experience in finding ways to help people and bring more positivity to the world around her.
In 2012, Sarah decided to climb Kilimanjaro to fundraise for a charity called Childreach International that helps children in Tanzania, India, Nepal and the UK to unlock their potential. She fundraised over £3,000 for this charity in less than a year.
She also fundraised for Cancer Research and partook in the ‘Race for Life’ more than once. It was a charity that was close to her heart as one of her best friend’s mum was diagnosed with cancer. Sarah went the extra mile to be there for her friend's family during that hard time, sometimes turning up at their house before work in the morning to bring a little of her special light around.
On the 25th of August in 2012, Sarah began her climb to the top of Kilimanjaro. She reached the summit and acted as a spiritual, emotional and mental coach to many of her team members. She also climbed Kilimanjaro with Naomi’s mum very much in her heart, knowing that it was a difficult time. At one point, when everyone could barely walk and the morale was very low, Sarah began shouting encouragement to the team every few minutes. All 35 people who climbed Kilimanjaro with her have expressed their astonishment at how she always managed to be happy and motivational even when everyone else wanted to give up.
When I asked her where her strength came from, she said it was from within – she didn’t let external worries and pains affect her energy inside. She said it was all about believing it with your mind first, and then being determined to remain in that state of belief and faith.
After climbing Kilimanjaro, Sarah planned to take a huge leap into the unknown and follow her dreams. She wanted to travel around the world, and learn about different cultures, philosophies, people and places. She planned to volunteer in various countries, and also to develop her skills in Yoga to become an instructor as well. In short, she wanted to spend three years on a spiritual journey where she could develop as a person, and also gain more experience in how to make a change in the world. It was a huge decision to make, and one that she didn’t take lightly. She found it difficult to leave her friends, family, work and home. Equally, however, she knew that if she stayed, she wouldn’t be following her dreams.
Like she always said: ‘life begins at the end of your comfort zone’, so if you want to do something, go for it, because life is too short.
On the 28th of November 2012, Sarah left for India. India was the first of many places she had planned to go to. In Goa Sarah spent most of her time meditating, reading and learning yoga. She wrote beautiful entries in her diary about how she felt she was really learning how to become at peace with herself and the world around her. She said that she could feel the spiritual energy growing within her. She was changing; shedding away all the things that were holding her back from being the person she wanted to be. She was letting go of past insecurities and doubts, and was rapidly blooming into an even more remarkable person.
In Goa, Sarah started a relationship with someone called Samir. Not much is known about her last couple of months, because she went up to Kashmir to stay with his family on a houseboat on Dhal Lake (where she had no access to internet or her own phone, given that that part of India is remote and you need to apply for different sim cards there).
Her family and friends became increasingly concerned, and her parents had even booked a holiday to go and see her on the next step of her travels. They were due to see her in a couple of weeks…
On the night of the 5th of April, something indescribably dark happened. Sarah was cruelly and mercilessly taken from this world. The violence and brutality of her murder is chilling and soul shatteringly sad. No one will ever be able to understand why such a beautiful, gentle and loving girl, was taken away so cruelly.
And if that wasn’t difficult enough for her family and friends to cope with, the following months only saw darker times. They had to wait weeks before they were able to have her funeral; newspapers all over the world reported the story, but with details that didn’t match up with other reports. The family were even accosted by ‘The Sun’ newspaper on the very day they were informed of the news. The devastation and confusion was indescribable. The Trial, which begun with a promising start, swiftly turned into a long and complicated process where almost two thirds of the court days have been cancelled or adjourned. Her brother, Tom, created a Justice for Sarah blog, which soon had thousands of supporters - http://justiceforsarahgroves.blogspot.co.uk/
Now almost 3.5 years have passed and there is still little progress. You can find the latest updates along with an overview of the trial to date here. The idea of getting justice for Sarah seems difficult to cling onto.
However, despite the fact that things have been so incredibly difficult, no one is prepared to give up the fight for justice. We need to spread Sarah's legacy far and wide. Sarah left so much inspiration and motivation behind that there isn't even the option of giving up. Her friends have set up a Justice for Sarah campaign, which has thousands of followers. You can follow Justice for Sarah on Facebook here.
Sarah wanted to leave her mark in the world, and make a positive change. With the continued efforts of the Sarah Groves Foundation, we are helping her do just that. She is loved and missed by her family and friends, more than words could ever describe.