Cape Town - Days after their daughter died at sea off the East London coast in a yacht accident, Sara King’s parents were faced with the prospect of being unable to afford to repatriate her remains to the UK.
Not until a crowdfunding website justgiving.com raised nearly R500 000 in a few days.
British eco-adventurer Sara, her Capetonian boyfriend, James Elsworth, 33, their friend, Jason Baker, 31, and their dog, Dax, were bound for Madagascar when their catamaran was caught in a severe storm on July 1.
Responding to the vessel’s SOS, Malta-registered container ship, Raraka, reached the crew in time to rescue everyone.
But paramedics were unable to resuscitate Sara.
However, her spirit lives on through justgiving.com, where friends and family revealed Sara’s lasting impression on their lives.
“I feel lucky to have known such a beautiful and passionate young woman who instantly gave such loving energy to all she met,” wrote one.
“Little traveller blue,” wrote Gina. “Oceans were the order of the day from the moment we met. Love that you never stopped chasing the dream.”
“She was a light that lit up a room,” posted Stephen Hillcoat and Leuan Jones. “A young woman with so much going for her. Funny. Passionate. That naughty smile. We are absolutely devastated at the news.”
“When people say someone was the life and soul, they could only have been describing Sara,” said Hannah Jeffery.
“That laugh! She loved life and was living it. The sadness is beyond words, but the memories come instantly.”
“The most caring, fun-loving, beautiful best friend a girl could ask for,” posted Jenn. “There are no words. We can’t explain how much we will miss you. Life won’t be the same. Come home to your family and friends.”
“My beautiful big sister,” read one of the scores of tributes. “I just don’t believe this is true. You are the most amazing and bravest person and my absolute idol Love you and will be waiting for when you arrive home.”
“Sara was an absolute light in everyone’s life,” wrote her parents, Janine and Tim, on Facebook.
Tim had planned to connect with Sara during her journey to Fiji and was tracking her on the app FindShip when to the catamaran stopped transmitting 242 nautical miles out to sea.
“She had a beautiful soul and her passion, energy and thirst for life inspired everyone around her,” added her parents.
“We are absolutely devastated by this loss. Sara had recently set sail on an adventure of a lifetime. She always lived life to the fullest and it is this amazing zest for life that we will always remember.
“We would like to thank everyone for their love and support during this sad time. We have been deeply touched by the overwhelming number of messages and contributions that have poured in from around the world.”
Sara’s ashes will be scattered at a ceremony in the UK and at a beach in Kommetjie, announced a family friend on justgiving.com.
Meanwhile, False Bay Yacht Club launched a clothing drive for Elsworth and Baker, who lost all their possessions in the disaster.
Donations can be dropped in a box at the club’s sailing office in King George Way, Simon’s Town.