UK & World News
Funeral Held For Qatar Mall Fire Triplets
Hundreds of people have attended a public memorial service in Wellington for the New Zealand triplets who died in a fire at their childcare centre in a Qatar shopping mall last month.
Two-year-olds Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were among 19 people killed in the blaze at the Villaggio Mall in Doha on May 28.
Thirteen of the victims were children.
The triplets' coffins, placed in the centre of St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington, were painted blue, pink and purple, the children's favourite colours, and had soft toys and flowers resting on top.
Members of the congregation were encouraged to wear clothing in those colours as well, with the family wanting the service to reflect the children's personalities as much as possible.
Fighting back tears, the triplets' parents, Martin and Jane Weekes, addressed the congregation.
"The days were filled with laughter, playing, eating, swimming, going out in the car, playing with their friends, love and happy mayhem.
"Three very special, yet very different little people, all from the same recipe.
"Each unique, each perfect in their own little way.
"Lillie, Jackson and Willsher - mummy and daddy will always love you and the joy you brought into our lives," said Mr Weekes.
Holding his wife close, he went on to repeat her favourite quote: "A mother's love is not divided amongst her children but is multiplied with each child."
The triplets' grandfather, Ron Turner, described how he played with the children and also spoke of the moment his daughter telephoned from Doha to tell him about the tragedy.
"Our hearts just broke," he said.
"Happiness all evaporated."
Mr and Mrs Weekes had asked for the service to be broadcast on television and via the internet for families and friends around the world who were unable to get to New Zealand.
They also said they wanted the service to be accessible to the public after they had been "overwhelmed" by love and support, often from complete strangers.
After the service balloons were released from the cathedral grounds.
A Facebook page has been opened encouraging others to release balloons and post pictures in tribute to the three children.
The family lived in Doha and the triplets had been at the Gympanzee childcare centre when a fire broke out in the mall.
Ten other children and four staff from the nursery died in the blaze, along with two firefighters.
Five people have been arrested, including the owner of the childcare centre.
The memorial service was followed by a private burial.