Hundreds gathered at York Minster, to pay tribute to Katie Rough
More than 300 mourners stood outside York Minster as the little girl’s white and red coffin – decorated with characters from her favourite Dr Seuss cartoon – was carried inside.
Another 400 family, friends and neighbours packed inside the famous church where she had been baptised as a baby.
Katie was found with severe lacerations to her neck and chest on a playing field half-a-mile from her home in York last month.
Some 300 mourners arrived to say goodbye to the little girl
She was rushed to hospital but could not be saved.
Her tragic death on January 9 came less than two weeks after her parents’ married after over a decade together.
Today her grieving parents Paul, 34, and Alison, 38, held hands as the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu told how he held an eleven our vigil by her coffin on Sunday night.
He said: “We thank you for the love and trust which she inspired in the hearts of those whom she met, for the joy which she has given to all who knew her and for the precious memories of her that will abide.”
The girl's coffin was decorated with her favourite Dr Seuss characters
There’s no easy way to say goodbye, we can’t dwell in sadness or keep asking why when we may never know why this smart, fun, beautiful child was taken from our lives at such a young age
Steve Rough, uncle
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The Archbishop told mourners how the youngster had been baptised at the historic Minster and that he had met her when she was just four during a visit to the building.
She had spotted him and trotted up to ask him the he way to the toilet.
Dressed in his ceremonial robes he added to laughter: “Perhaps she thought I was the cleaner.”
The Archbishop re-wrote verses to one of Katie’s favourite hymns “He’s got the whole world in his hands” to include the words “He’s got Katie and me, brother in his hands,” for the service.
Mourners were asked to dress formally but with a colourful twist
He described her as “beautiful, joyful, trusting and faithful”.
Katie’s uncle Steve Rough choked back tears as he described his niece as a “smart, fun, beautiful and sassy child”.
He said: “There’s no easy way to say goodbye, we can’t dwell in sadness or keep asking why when we may never know why this smart, fun, beautiful child was taken from our lives at such a young age.
He described her as a “Daddy’s girl”, and told how she loved jumping “with delight” on a trampoline, picnics and sleepovers, and reading the bible.
The girl's family spoke touching words at the service
Mr Rough said Katie suffered from selective mutism but that did not stop her from having fun with her friends.
He described her love of the outdoors and reading, particularly poetry and Dr Seuss.
He said: “Her family were her world. She loved her mum and dad but she was definitely described as a daddy’s girl.”
Katie’s coffin arrived at the South Transept of the Minster in a white hearse pulled by two white horses.
A 15-year-old is due in court over Katie's death
Along with characters from Dr Seuss the coffin was decorated with multicoloured flowers on top and cartoon fish on the side.
Mourners wore bright scarves and ties and a number of young children wore rainbow-coloured hair bows after they were asked by Katie’s parents to dress formally “but with a colourful twist”.
Her parents have said a lasting memorial will be established for their daughter.
A 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named, has appeared in court charged with Katie’s murder.
She is due to appear before Leeds Crown Court on Thursday.