UK & World News
April Jones Funeral: Machynlleth Says Goodbye
The family of murdered schoolgirl April Jones have said an emotional farewell at a funeral held in their hometown of Machynlleth.
A white horse-drawn hearse led mourners, including the five-year-old's parents Paul and Coral and their two children from their home in Machynlleth to St Peter's Church.
April's parents sent a message of thanks to all who had supported them since the five-year-old was abducted and killed almost a year ago.
Parish vicar Reverend Kathleen Rogers said that parents Coral and Paul Jones wanted to thank all of those who had helped them over their "dark days."
The coffin arrived at St Peter's as Emeli Sande's Read All About It played on loudspeakers outside the church.
As it was carried inside by family members, Coral wept, holding her hand to her face, comforted by Paul, while other relatives fought back tears.
A message from April's family, written on the order of service, said they "would like to say a big thank you to everyone for their overwhelming kindness, sympathy and support during this sad, sad time".
Many people in the congregation had helped search for April after she went missing at the beginning of October last year.
A memorial garden has been built on the estate of Bryn y Gog, close to the home where she lived.
Earlier, April's father inspected flowers and dolls left at the garden, which has become a focal point for locals.
A bench bearing her name has been placed among the trees and next to a pink playhouse.
Up in the Welsh hills overlooking her hometown, a tree has been intricately wrapped in knitted pink patches and below in the valley pink ribbons still adorn many of the shop fronts and houses.
But the town is different now, according to Councillor Mike Williams, a friend and neighbour of April's family.
He explained: "It's the magnitude of an event in which a five-year-old girl was ripped from her family, ripped from the community, in such a vile and vicious way.
"But the town has stayed together and together we will be. We will be as one and we will be always with the family in support."
The service reflected April's tastes and members of the congregation wore pink which was her favourite colour.
A poem penned by local writer Jim Marshall at the time of the five-year-old's disappearance was read by one of the teachers from April's school.
Donations are being used to sponsor the education of a schoolgirl in Uganda through the charity World Vision. April's family will receive regular updates and photographs following the girl's progress.
The service was followed by a private burial at which pink balloons were released in April's memory.