Funeral held for 'special little girl' Alesha MacPhail

Family and friends of a six-year-old girl who was killed on holiday have said farewell to a "special little girl" at her funeral.

Alesha MacPhail was staying with relatives on the Isle of Bute, in the Firth of Clyde, at the start of the summer break when she was found dead.

A 16-year-old boy was charged with rape and murder following the discovery of Alesha's body in woodland on July 2.

A piper played as mourners entered Coats Funeral Home in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, on Saturday, most wearing pink as the family had asked.

Alesha MacPhail
A picture among tributes near a house on Ardbeg Road on the Isle of Bute where Alesha MacPhail was staying (John Linton/PA)

Dozens of bows were tied to the railings of the building while cuddly toys including teddies and unicorns lined the wall outside.

During the service mourners heard tributes from people close to Alesha including an emotional speech from her uncle Calum MacPhail.

He said: "Alesha would rather hurt than you, she had a great amount of love for absolutely everyone.

"Alesha is everything that I wanted to be, she was kind, caring, smart, I just cannot believe she is gone.

"She was the brightest thing."

He was comforted by Alesha's mother Georgina Lochrane, known as Genie, who went up to hug him as he returned to his seat near the schoolgirl's father Robert MacPhail, little sister Courtney, aged four, and other family members.

Alesha was a pupil at Chapelside Primary School in nearby Airdrie where she had just finished P2 and her class teacher Emma Gibson also spoke.

She said: "Alesha was a bright and bubbly little girl, she always came into class with that big beautiful smile of hers.

"It was an absolute pleasure to have taught Alesha. I'm so grateful to have known this special little girl."

Alesha MacPhail
Family and friends gather at the Coats Funeral Home, in Coatbridge for Alesha MacPhail's funeral (Lesley Martin/PA)

She said that the schoolgirl loved working on her literacy and handwriting and enjoyed performing in school shows such as The Lion King.

Headteacher Wendy Davie said: "May your smile shine brightly wherever you are, you will always be remembered as our Chapelside star."

Robert MacPhail's girlfriend Toni McLachlan also gave a tribute, saying: "Sleep tight, little angel."

The service was led by funeral director Fergus MacGregor, who said Alesha was an amazing and talented little girl and the "best big sister, best daughter, best granddaughter and friend that anyone could have asked for".

He said that Alesha will always be remembered as a "very loving girl, friendly, good natured and full of love" who enjoyed everything from doing gymnastics and riding her bike to baking cakes, listening to music and watching Peppa Pig.

Mr MacGregor also said that Alesha was fascinated by bubbles and had always wanted a bubble party on her birthday.

As music played at the end of the service a bubble machine sent bubbles drifting above the mourners' heads.

After the ceremony Alesha's father and uncle Calum were among those who carried her little pink coffin to the waiting hearse, a white carriage drawn by two white horses with pink feathers and pink drapes.

Mourners lined the street as the hearse set off for Coltswood Cemetery, followed by two black carriages carrying flowers, and family members in cars.

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