Mylee Billingham: Church support for mourners as pink ribbons appear in sign of unity - PICTURES
A church is opening its doors to help a grieving community come together after the tragic death of Mylee Billingham.
St James Church, in Brownhills, was offering people a place to 'respond and reflect' after the eight-year-old girl was stabbed to death last weekend.
The church is opening from 8.30am to 11am, 3pm to 5pm and from 7pm to 9pm today.
It comes as a community response to the tragedy has seen pink ribbons tied around the area.
Many have appeared near the church and on lamp posts and among floral tributes outside the home, in Valley View.
The Reverend Dave Bishop, from St James Church, said: "The feeling in the community is a mixture of shock, devastation, grief, upset, hurt and anger.
"There is a real sense of disbelief and that is why we have opened the church.
"After the last few days, people have needed a little bit of time and space and that is what they are able to do here.
"Some people are just sitting quietly while others have lit candles.
"We are giving people a place to respond and reflect in a way that is helpful for them
"Trying to get your head around it is awful and sometimes you don't have the words to describe what you are feeling.
"People can't understand it.
"It will be a long journey for the community. But it has been good to see the community come together, rallying around and supporting each other."
The church opened 30 minutes early today to allow people inside to grieve.
Church members, posting on the St James' Facebook page, added: "This will provide time and space to light a candle, say a prayer or have moment of reflection as we remember Mylee and her family at this time."
Meanwhile more than £1,200 has been raised for Mylee's family through an online GoFundMe campaign.
This campaign was set up by supporter David Healey and the money is to be given to Mylee's mother Tracey Taundry.
It has already smashed through its original target of £500.
Police remain at the scene as the investigation continues.
Mylee's father, Bill Billingham, 54, is believed to be the man who was arrested on Saturday night when Mylee was found.
His injury is not life threatening but he was deemed to be in a critical condition over the weekend, with police unable to speak to him or question him.