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Family and friends of Manchester victim Eilidh MacLeod gather for her funeral
Family and friends of Eilidh MacLeod gathered on her island home of Barra in the Western Isles for the mass two weeks after the tragedy at an Ariane Grande concert which killed 22 people.
Her friend, Laura MacIntyre, 15, was among the dozens injured in the Islamic terror attack.
Speaking at the funeral mass, Barra parish priest, Father John Paul MacKinnon said: “Eilidh packed a lot into her 14 years. Fourteen happy years.
Eilidh MacLeod was among 22 others killed in the Manchester bombing at an Ariana Grande concert
Eilidh packed a lot into her 14 years. Fourteen happy years
Father John Paul MacKinnon
“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.”
He added: “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 onto 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.”
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Sorrell Leczkowski, a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Leeds
Fr MacKinnon also asked the congregation to also think of Laura and others affected by the attack.
He said: “We pray for Eilidh’s good friend Laura, who is in hospital in Manchester, we pray to our Lord Jesus to bring strength and healing to Laura in her recovery and to give strength and peace to her parents and family at this time.”
The teenager’s body was flown home on Sunday, arriving in a plane which landed on the island’s beach runaway where Fr John Paul MacKinnon performed a blessing over the casket.
After being taken to the family home, the cortege made its way to Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Castlebay, for the church service.
Family and friends of Eilidh Mac Leod gathered on her island home of Barra in the Western Isles
Later, the hearse carried Eilidh’s body from the church to Vatersay, an island connected by a causeway where she is originally from, for her burial.
The teenager and Laura, both from the Castlebay Community School in Castlebay, Barra, had travelled to Manchester for the concert with members of their family.
Eilidh was a piper with Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band and before the mass, the band’s Donald Macdonald said: “Eilidh was very much a big part of the pipe band. She was so committed. Always practising. Always giving her best.”
A floral tribute was sent to the island from Ian Hopkins, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, and Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham.
A floral tribute was sent to the island from Ian Hopkin and Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham
The message on the wreath read: “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.”
Ahead of the service, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I know that everyone in Scotland will join me in sending our heartfelt sympathy to Eilidh’s family and friends ahead of what will be the most difficult day imaginable.
“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.”
Many businesses on Barra shut for the whole day as a mark of respect and to allow staff to attend the funeral.
The local community has been fundraising for the families of both victims.
The teenager’s body was flown home on Sunday, arriving in a plane
Money is to be donated to Eilidh’s favourite charity, Cobhair Bharraigh, a local home-based support service and day care centre.
In a statement released last month along with photographs from her childhood, Eilidh’s parents, Roddy and Marion, described their daughter as “beautiful, popular and talented”.
They said she was “a loving sister” who loved socialising with friends, and who had an “unsurpassed” love of music.
The family added: “Eilidh and Laura were so excited about going to the concert together but what should have been the perfect ending to a fantastic trip ended so tragically.
“We continue to have Laura and her family in our thoughts and pray that she makes a full recovery.”