A child in Uganda is going to be sponsored in memory of April Jones whose funeral took place today. Nearly a year after the five-year-old was abducted and murdered, her funeral took place in her home town of Machynlleth. Her white coffin was transported from her family home to St Peter's Church in a white and glass hearse, drawn by two white horses wearing pink feather plumes. The carriage was surrounded by hundreds of local people many were wearing pink clothing, April's favourite colour.
Opening the service Revd Kathleen Rogers said:
"We've come to celebrate her short life to grieve together to say goodbye, it's a bitter sweet moment.
"We come also with a sense of thanksgiving for the many ways that April touched our lives and who she came into contact.
"For a five year-old she touched a great many lives, by the number of us here today. "For Paul, Coral, Jazmin and Harley April was, and is, extra special."
Church bells rang out in mourning as the cream-coloured coffin containing the remains of the five-year-old schoolgirl was carried into church, followed by April's grieving mother and her husband Paul. The service included Psalm 23: The Lord Is My Shepherd, and hymns including Memories Sad And Beautiful, and a Welsh hymn. Two poems written by local man Jim Marshall called 'April' and 'An Autumn Night' were read out.
Revd Rogers said she hopes today's service will help April's family and community begin to heal:
"A funeral plays a significant part in the grieving process and the funeral of little April will be even more important for her family as the probability of such a service was very remote until the inquest two weeks ago.
"Our prayer is that it will be a starting point for them as they travel the long and painful journey of healing.
"It will also, I think, give the community permission to bring some sort of normality back to our town."
All donations from those attending the service will go towards the child sponsorship. Revd Rogers said the idea came because people wanted to see something good come out of the tragedy.
A five-year-old girl in a village in Uganda will be sponsored until she finishes her education.
Other donations will be an extra gift for the girl, her family and her village to use as they need.
The parish will receive regular updates and photographs about the girl as she grows up.
Revd Rogers said:
"We have all, by the grace of God, come through a terrible, terrible tragedy; we are battered and bruised but by His continued grace we will find healing and peace.
"In an attempt to see some good out of this tragedy, we have decided to sponsor a little girl from a village in Uganda in memory of April.
"April's parents have kindly asked that donations from her funeral be donated to this sponsorship and we are very grateful to them."
A message from the Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Revd Andy John, was read out at today's funeral.
Premier's Victoria Laurence asked him during the News Hour what he would have said to April's parents if he had been at the church today:
The child sponsorship is being organised by the Christian charity World Vision.
In a statement its Chief Executive Justin Byworth said,
"We're privileged that the church and April's family have chosen to honour April's memory by sponsoring a child through World Vision UK.
"We offer our sincerest condolences and we express our gratitude that, through these desperately sad circumstances, a five-year-old girl in Uganda will benefit."
April was abducted by Bridger while playing near her home October 1st last year. Bridger was jailed for life after being found guilty at Mold Crown Court in May following a month-long trial. April's body has never been found but police recovered tiny fragments of bone at Bridger's home.