Manchester attack victim Eilidh MacLeod laid to rest on the Isle of

first_imgThe Isle of Barra has come together as “one big family” to celebrate the life of 14-year-old Eilidh MacLeod, the “dear, beautiful” teenager who died in the Manchester bombing.Most of the 1,000-strong population turned out for the schoolgirl’s funeral at the church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, overlooking the picturesque village of Castlebay.Fr John Paul MacKinnon told mourners it was important to remember that Eilidh was the “happiest she had ever been” on her birthday treat trip to see Ariana Grande.The teenager’s coffin was led by her father Roddy as it was piped through the village. Following the service there was a procession to the teenager’s burial across the causeway to the neighbouring island of Vatersay where she grew up.The church was full for the funeral Mass, which was also relayed to a packed Castlebay Hall. Eilidh, a talented piper and popular schoolgirl, was in Manchester with her friend Laura MacIntyre, 15, who was seriously injured in the suicide bombing and is still recovering in hospital.The service began with a recording of Eilidh playing “Both Sides the Tweed” on the bagpipes.Fr MacKinnon said she had “packed a lot of life into 14 happy years”, adding: “That’s so important for us to remember today. Eilidh was a happy girl, she had 14 happy years and in the last few days of her life she was the happiest you could ever imagine. eilidh macleod Mourners at the Church of Our lady, Star of the Sea in CastlebayCredit:PA eilidh macleod “Even though there is a great sadness here today, there is a great thankfulness to God for blessing us with Eilidh’s life. Our loss is heaven’s gain.”Eilidh’s family were said to have been overwhelmed by the “great generosity and love” they have received since losing the teenager.The service was attended by John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister and a floral tribute was sent to the Hebridean island by Andy Burnham, mayor of Manchester, and Ian Hopkins, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. The order of service for Eilidh MacLeod’s funeralCredit:PA Businesses on the island shut as a mark of respect and to allow staff to attend the funeral. eilidh macleod Mr and Mrs MacLeod said they had lost their “darling daughter” in the cruellest way possible and added that they wanted her funeral to be a “real celebration of her life and the wonderful person she was”.They said: “Eilidh’s infectious personality touched everyone she met and it has been a privilege and an honour to have her as our daughter. We will always remember her as a truly beautiful girl inside and out, eternally young, love by all and forever in our hearts”.Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, said before the service that everyone in Scotland would join her in “sending our heartfelt sympathy to Eilidh’s family and friends ahead of what will be the most difficult day imaginable”.She added: ”Everything that I’ve heard, seen or read about Eilidh shows that she was a vivacious, fun-loving young woman with a bright future ahead of her, and I know that the community on Barra will pay her a fitting tribute. Her family are in my thoughts.” eilidh macleod Eilidh MacLeodCredit:PA An officer lays flowers on behalf of Andy Burnham, mayor of ManchesterCredit:PA Their message said: “We may not have known you, but you will forever be in the hearts and thoughts of all at Greater Manchester Police and the people of Manchester.”Eilidh’s body was flown home on Sunday, arriving in a small chartered plane, carrying her parents Roddy and Marion, that landed on the island’s beach runaway. “The last thing in Eilidh’s life was happiness. She had spent a wonderful weekend away from the island, going shopping, going to nice cafes, going to the cinema and then going to her pop idol’s concert, Ariana. She was the happiest she had ever been and that’s what we hold on to today, the happiness of Eilidh’s life.”Those memories of Eilidh will live on in all our hearts. Every year of her life was precious to us and we thank God for blessing us with her precious life.”He added: “Roddy and Marion were blessed with a beautiful daughter, Shona and Laura were blessed with a wonderful sister, our island was blessed to have such a young talented girl growing up on it. Barra’s community has been fundraising for the families of both victims. Money is to be donated to Eilidh’s favourite charity, Cobhair Bharraigh, a local home-based support service and day care centre.They said she was “a loving sister” who loved socialising with friends, and who had an “unsurpassed” love of music.The large procession following the hearse to Vatersay passed Eilidh’s school en route, where the island’s green and white flag was flying at half-mast. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more