Funeral of murdered child April Jones brings town to a standstill
on 26/09/2013 13:09:43
The family of April Jones said a final farewell today as the Welsh town that shared their grief came to a standstill.
As the tiny white coffin carrying her remains was borne through the streets of Machynlleth in a white horse-drawn hearse, townsfolk stood in silence or followed behind, all wearing pink in tribute to the schoolgirl.
Mourners held each other for support as the coffin was carried into St Peter's Church, where the Rev Kathleen Rogers said: "We know that there are no words we can say at this moment to express what we are feeling.
"No words can alleviate our sorrow or take away our pain."
April parent's Paul and Coral and siblings Jazmin and Harley stood at the front of the church for the moving service.
Ms Rodgers told the congregation: "We have come together to remember April in the presence of God. We have come to celebrate her short life and grieve together, to say goodbye.
"It's a bittersweet moment. Our hopes and dreams have changed because April has been taken from us.
"But you know, we come also with a sense of thanksgiving for the many ways that April touched our lives and those with whom she came into contact.
"For a five-year-old she touched a great many lives … for Paul, Coral, Jazmin and Harley, April was and is extra special.
"But she touched us all and we think and feel differently because of the difference she made to us.
"Today, here in this place, she is linking us all together in grief. Yet, grief goes hand in hand with love.
"In whatever way we express our grief, it shows our love for April.
"And surely that is the most important thing for any human being of whatever age, simply to be loved."
The rural town was adorned with the five-year-old's favourite colour. Mourners lined the streets dressed in pink and ribbons hung from railings, shop windows and lampposts.
They were adopted as a symbol of hope that April would return home safe, but now serve as a sign of support to her family and a sign that people have not forgotten her.
The funeral service came five days before the first anniversary of April's murder and 10 days after an inquest released her remains to her family.
Tearful mourners stood in silence as the hearse carrying the coffin, which was decorated with the name April in pink flowers, passed by. Many clutched handkerchiefs as they wiped away tears.
After the service, the funeral party left the church for a private burial