Funeral held for April Jones
HUNDREDS of mourners have attended the funeral service for April Jones.
They followed her white coffin and lined the streets as it was transported from her family home in Machynlleth to St Peter's Church in a white and glass hearse, drawn by two white horses wearing pink feather plumes.
Five-year-old April was murdered by 47-year-old Mark Bridger almost a year ago. He is serving life behind bars.
Today, members of the search and rescue team that helped look for April were lined up outside the church.
Inside the church a poignant montage of images of April played on a flat screen TV taken from the family's own album of images.
The BBC reported that the Reverend Kathleen Rogers opened the service, telling the congregation: "There is nothing to express the grief, the shock, the pain, the emptiness, the anger, the despair which overwhelms us.
"We honestly come before you asking for strength in time of darkness.
"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 church service was followed by a private burial at the town's cemetery where April's family released pink balloons.
Donations made at the service will be used to sponsor a five-year-old girl in Africa, the town's vicar has said.
April was abducted by Bridger while playing near her home in Machynlleth on October 1 last year.
April's body has never been found but police recovered tiny fragments of bone at Bridger's home.