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Elianne Adnam memorial flowers-thumb.jpg
Elianne Adnam memorial flowers-thumb.jpg
World News

Community joins church in mourning in open air service for Christian schoolgirl Elianne

by Premier Journalist

Dressed in black and surrounded by hundreds of mourners, Elianne Andam's family prayed in celebration of her life on Sunday, describing a girl "full of joy and hope for the future".  Faith leaders and members of the community gathered on a street near where she died, to support the grieving family and send a defiant message of unity in the midst of tragedy.

15 year old Elianne Andam was fatally stabbed on her way to school in south London last week.  Her family say she was loved by everyone and had plans to become a lawyer.  Her photograph, placed in a black frame, stood next to the microphone on the street where people gathered in grief.

"When all the attention has gone, who's left behind? Us. We are going to rise from this," one community leader said to the crowd in Croydon town centre, at the open air service in her memory.

Church leaders from across London were there to acknowledge the community and to talk about grief and healing.

As they try to piece together a world forever ripped apart, the family say their faith is providing them with strength in the depths of pain and shock.

Pastor Mark Rossell told those gathered that Elianne had been an avid member of his church community.  She grew up at New Life church and was a regular attender at Sunday school.  Her untimely death has shaken the entire congregation.  "It broke our hearts. Elianne was a huge part of New Life, it's personal. This really, really hurts."

"She had her whole life ahead of her, she was always laughing and really loved being part of this community. She had big dreams and was so optimistic about her goals." Pastor Rossell said.

He told Sky News everyone is rallying around in support of her loved ones.

"Elianne's family were in church this morning, praying during this tragedy.

"It's our community that will build them back up and give them every ounce of support they need."

A few metres from where the outdoor service was held, close to the spot where Elianne's life was lost, the pavement is now covered in flowers and heart-shaped balloons. After the service, a few more people laid bouquets, and many stopped to sign a book of condolence. 

A 17yr old boy has been charged with murder and is due to appear for trial at the Old Bailey.

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