Mylee Billingham's heartbroken family join community to say farewell at funeral
Dozens of people lined the streets to bid a final farewell to tragic Brownhills schoolgirl Mylee Billingham today.
Her mother Tracey Taundry, carried a doll and a piece of Swiss roll, which was Mylee's favourite cake, after leaving the funeral service.
Mourners were invited to wear bright clothing in memory of the eight-year-old, who died in January after suffering knife wounds.
Her mother asked, instead of the traditional black attire, people should wear ‘all things bright and beautiful just as she was’.
Her white coffin arrived at the service on hearse, drawn along by two white horses, with the family following closely behind.
Floral tributes were left at St James Church in the town where the service was held.
Ribbons had also been tied to chairs inside the church - a symbol which had spread across the community in the wake of her death.
The Reverend Dave Bishop, of St James Church, paid tribute to Mylee, who made a 'big impact' on those who knew her.
He said: "It's never easy doing a funeral especially given the age of Mylee and the manner of her death.
"But I think it was great to see her whole family there and the community come together to celebrate her life."
Speaking at the service, he added: "So we are all here today filled with a mixture of emotions – to remember a young lady who lived her life to the full.
"People may be sad, grieving and at a loss, but lets not forget we are also here to remember and celebrate that she loved her life.
"Her life was brief but she crammed so much into it.
"We will have each other, the way in which this community has come together in demonstration of this.
"But the best way to remember and celebrate Mylee's life will be to follow her example and to love life."
Among the tributes placed outside the church, was one addressed to ‘Our little superstar’, adding: "No matter how we spend our days, no matter what we do, there will always be a longing in our hearts.
"Though your smile is gone forever and your hand we cannot touch – we will never forget the superstar dancer, we loved so much.
"A special little girl, with such beautiful hair, a special face someone we have lost and can never replace.
"Gone from our dancing group, gone from our touch.
"But not from our hearts because we love you so much.
"You dance your way up there, we miss you Smiley Mylee."
The service started with 'Dancing in the Sky' entrance music by Dani and Lizzy before a welcome prayer was read out by the vicar.
Those in attendance and outside joined in with the Lord of the Dance hymn before a reading of John 21 v 1-7.
The final hymn was One More Step Along The Way I Go as the family and coffin left the church to 'Never Enough', from the Greatest Showman film soundtrack.
The back of the order of service distributed to people in the church read: "Mylee’s family would like to express their gratitude for the love, sympathy and support shown at this difficult time.
"Any donations in memory of Mylee to be made to Birmingham Children’s Hospital."
The service lasted for about 40 minutes and was followed by a private service for the family and close friends of Mylee.
Mylee's father, William Billingham, has been charged with her murder and making threats to kill and is due to re-appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court next month.
The primary school pupil was pronounced dead in hospital after being found with wounds at her father's bungalow in Valley View on January 20.