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Hundreds turn out for emotional funeral of Christina Edkins
BIRMINGHAM came to a standstill as the funeral of murdered Halesowen schoolgirl was held at the city's St Phillips cathedral.
Hundreds of mourners, both young and old, turned out to pay their respects to the 16-year-old who was stabbed to death on a number nine bus two weeks ago.
Passers-by stopped and stood in silence as a white horse drawn carriage carried Christina's coffin to the gates of the cathedral ahead of the funeral at 1.30pm.
Coaches had brought 120 fellow pupils of Christina from Halesowen to the service and many struggled to hold back tears during an outpouring of grief for the schoolgirl.
As family members carried the coffin through the churchyard only the sound was a solitary bell tolling and many mourners wore purple ribbons which matched the horses’ regalia in the funeral cortege.
Reverend Nigel Hand gave the opening prayers and spoke of the senselessness of the killing which had affected so many people across Birmingham and the Black Country.
Headmaster of Leasowes High School, Halesowen, Neil Shaw gave an emotional tribute to Christina who he described as "charming, fun-loving, hard-working and caring" and very popular with pupils and staff alike.
Friend and fellow Leasowes pupil Obri Gonzalez, aged 16, faultlessly read out an emotional poem about the loss of Christina and how she had touched so many lives in her short life.
Godfather Keith Rammell spoke about the loss the family felt and read a poem which contained the lines: “Our princess will never grow up to be queen, and see the things we’ve seen.”
A picture emerged throughout the service of a popular girl who had countless friends and who was working towards being a nurse, she had already started work experience at a local nursery.
Reverend Ian Harper told the congregation: “Christina always had a smile on her face and had a bubbly personality.”
Several of Christina’s favourite pop songs were also played before, after and during the service including records by Ed Sheeran and One Direction.
Today Christina's cousin Stephen Newby paid tribute to her, he said: "Today we will say goodbye to Christina. We are devastated that she should have been taken away so senselessly and continue to try to come to terms with what has happened.
"We have been overwhelmed and comforted by the spontaneous reactions of so many people. While many of them never knew Christina, all have been touched in some way by this tragic event and share in our grief. We would like to thank everybody for their support and kindness, in particular the local groups, whose efforts have been so meaningful to us.
"The determination and support of the police has been invaluable during this very difficult time and we wish to thank all of the officers involved. We hope that justice will now be done and that Christina can be allowed to rest peacefully."
Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham, spoke of the importance of the funeral being held at the city’s cathedral.
She said: "It is a sad privilege for Birmingham Cathedral to conduct the funeral for Christina, and we extend heart-felt sympathy and prayers to her family and friends. This death is very hard to bear and we ask all those who mourn the loss of this lovely and bright young woman to join us in prayer on Friday.
“Birmingham Cathedral stands in the centre of the city as a symbol of the triumph of peace, hope and love and these are the values that really matter at times like these."
After the funeral service family and close friends travelled to Perry Barr Crematorium for a private service.