Rita embodied this very city. She inhabited it more fully than anyone I’ve ever met. Rita was always Rita, true to herself in every context and always glittering. Rita was home. Warm, familiar and always able to remind you who you are.

Rita’s gifts of communication, infectious energy and boundless love of learning made her known to and loved by many. Her vulnerable shyness and modesty meant she probably never knew this.

Rita’s brave and incredible trip to South America will inspire us all to live life to the full, passing fear off with a smile and a dance.

Rita will live on in our hearts and minds forever. At every festival, on every dance floor, in every sunset.

Rita – You are our smile.

Alice Carder

[Editor's note: below is a poem written by Rita before she left Sheffield for South America.]

To those who I’ve lost for those who I’ve found.

As I stuff the remnants of the pages inked memory blotches jump out from tangible scribble to erratic and incomprehensible personal shorthand.

Some pages are missing, some ripped out, some blew out the window through bright lights, uncontrollable laughter, moustaches, ballgowns, flailing, to the last of the standing, good old sailor what’s his name, back to the warmth and into the gutter.

Tables with edges so bent red wine pours onto the father of a dictator’s rug.

You’ll never live down the shopping receipt, the chocolate smile crease or
the casual moon dancing.

Bassline beats, floating, bending under dreams, spotlights, the spirits of ghostlike bands, their rhythms played back and conjured with gentle reminiscent persuasion.

All hail the bison!

Chinnilingus under crooked sunrise. Sunsets at all angles.

A blow up sofa ship, whose pirates’ rum fuelled sea shantys would scare the most sturdy of grandmothers.

Blue faced cackling gussets, rabid fanny grabbers, filthy limericks, blonde farmers and an easy ride.

Silver nipple flowers frame a night of police, camera ballgown.

Reds vs whites as a flame fuelled battle ensues, could it be the fault of the Benedictine monks?

Jungles, superheroes and shisha dens, running their imaginations through the brickwork. Just another chapter, but this one will never be closed.

Thankyou, you set of loveable bastards whose imaginative collective evokes and inspires.

I love you Sheffield.

xxx Rita x

Alice Carder and Rita McAndrew.