Around Shelley Pollard in the last moments of her life, there was frantic activity as the emergency services battled to revive her.
She lay on the ground on the Kingsbridge over the Stour close to the spot where she routinely begged to feed a ruinous drug habit.
Shelley, 42, had collapsed at just after 6pm. Paramedics fought to save her, but police confirmed this morning that she had later died.
She was a frequent sight on the bridge. In winter, she would be hidden beneath a bundle of sleeping bags and blankets, little of her showing save for a badly scarred nose, a devastating consequence of her addiction to heroin and crack.
When it was time to sleep, she would move to the spacious doorway of the Soundz n Sitez comic and record shop.
Just nine hours earlier before she collapsed, a friend known as Teardrop because of a tattoo on his face, had spoken with her.
Today, he said: “It’s so sad. We all feel it when one of our friends passes.”
Carrie Short, 37, was begging at the Westgate Towers this morning. She grew up with Shelley on the London Road Estate and both attended Beauherne Primary School, now part of the Canterbury Academy.
“Shelley was really bubbly and chatty,” Carrie said. “She was the life and soul of the street where we grew and would always have your back.”
Shelley had three children with different fathers. Carrie says that Shelley led a fairly ordinary life until about four years ago when a personal tragedy led her into the world of hard drugs and uncontrollable addiction.
She became addicted to a street drug known as snowball, a combination of heroin and crack which can be fatal.
Carrie added: “We tried to get her off it. We tried to get her on methadone.
“She always knew that she could go back to her mum’s on the estate if she got off the drugs.
“But she found it too difficult, too hard to break. She was very ill.”
Shelley’s mother Susan still lives in the same road where her daughter and Carrie grew up.
Speaking today, Susan said: “The police came round last night and told me what had happened.
“I know there’s been lots of people talking about it on Facebook, but other than that I don’t really know what happened.
“Shelley lost her house and that’s how she ended up on the street. She lost everything.”
Police have said there are no suspicious circumstances around Shelley’s death.
They taped off the area where she collapsed and reopened it around 8pm.
Edd Withers, the chairman of Canterbury Pride and administrator of the Canterbury Residents Group on Facebook, knew of Shelley.
“I spoke to her regularly, she was so kind,” he said.
“In the snow, she just was so happy many people stopped to speak to her.
“But she refused any help anyone offered her. She was scared and addicted to drugs. It’s so very sad.”
If you have issues with substance misuse or know someone who has, you can contact the Turning Point charity via its website.
Alternatively, you can call FRANK for help and advice. The number is 0300 123 6600.