IT was a move that they thought would bring them closer together as a family but ended in tragedy.

When grandmother Delia Hughes left her home town of Blackpool to start a new phase of her life in Southampton it was so she could enjoy quality time with her loved ones.

But in a cruel twist of fate, the 85-year-old had her life snatched away in the place she now called home when she was battered to death by a stranger.

Today her devastated family and friends will gather to say their final goodbyes to Delia at her funeral.

Tributes will be led by her daughter, Beryl, who has written a eulogy charting her life from raising her family in Blackpool, to working her way up the ranks during a 30-year-career in Littlewoods and nursing her late husband through a severe stroke before he passed away a couple of years later.

After more than 50 years, widowed Delia moved to Southampton to be near her children and grandchildren. She was a regular at the make-up counters of Boots and Debenhams in the city and would often pop in to chat with staff and pick up samples.

It was on the morning of Saturday, August 18, that her life was cut short when she was attacked in the bedroom of her ground floor flat in Atlantic Close, Ocean Village .

Her death sparked a hunt which lasted four weeks before detectives arrested and charged a man with murder.

Describing the horror of Delia’s death, the eulogy reads: “Sadly we come to that awful, awful day when she was taken from us. Why her?”

Beryl then went on to say how in hindsight she wishes they had never encouraged Delia to move to Southampton as she might still be alive today, adding “...but she wouldn’t have had the closeness of her family round her, so I hope she will forgive me for that”.

Delia’s funeral service was due to take place at 12.30pm today at the East Chapel at Southampton Crematorium in Bassett Green Road.

  • Jamie Boult, 24, from Chessel Crescent, Bitterne , has been charged with murder and is now on remand. He also faces a separate charge of aggravated burglary concerning an unrelated incident in which he allegedly went into a house armed with an axe.