Thursday, October 15, 2009
Hundreds of mourners attend Aisling Symes' funeral - "little cutie" laid to rest...
Hundreds of mourners at Aisling Symes' funeral today heard she was a "cutie" with a "loving heart" who loved food, funny noises and raspberries being blown on her stomach.
A large crowd gathered outside Ranui Baptist Church, in west Auckland, as Aisling's close-knit family made their final farewells.
Alan and Angela Symes took Aisling's's flag-draped casket from the church to the waiting white hearse as the hymn Amazing Grace was played on a whistle.
The parents of the two year-old clung to each other as a Kuia farewelled their daughter with a karakia.
Family members released white doves and embraced each other before the hearse drove to a private cremation.
Police found Aisling's body in a stormwater pipe close to her deceased grandparents' home in Longburn Road, Henderson, on Monday night. The discovery followed a week-long search by police, family and members of the public.
Leading the funeral service, Pastor Russell Watts told mourners of a prayer meeting that was happening at the time Aisling's body was found.
"As we were praying, the truth came to light," Mr Watts said.
He said it was a sign from God.
"A level of compassion is coming into the hearts that was not there before," Mr Watts said.
He said neighbours were talking to neighbours and people are working together. He said these were good things that should continue.
"Don't you dare think that effort was not for nothing," Mr Watts said.
He said what the community did meant something and had "eternal significance".
He thanked the community who "stood up while our hearts bled" as well as police and local politicians. "Life is so fragile and is so full of change".
Mr Watts led a prayer in which he said "accidents happen, Lord."
He said the prayers from the community and family came too late because she was "already enjoying heaven".
"For us left back here and the family, it hurts, there is a big hole left here," Mr Watts said.
He said people were "hurting in ways they can't describe".
The Symes family embraced each other as the congregation sang: Be Thou My Vision.
Mr Watts told the congregation that he was told by Aisling's Irish father, Alan, that the hymn was always sung at Irish funerals