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Horse-drawn carriages lead funeral procession for Stafford house fire victims

By Dayna Farrington | Stafford | News | Published:

Family and friends have bid a final farewell to four children who lost their lives in a tragic house fire in Stafford.

Two horse-drawn carriages transported the four young children's coffins to Stafford Crematorium

A private funeral service for the four children took place at Stafford Crematorium on Tuesday afternoon, after a procession through the Highfields estate.

Riley Holt, eight, Keegan Unitt, six, Tilly Rose Unitt, four, and Olly Unitt, three, died in the fire at their home in Sycamore Lane on February 5.

Keegan Unitt, 6, Tilly Unitt, 4, Olly Unitt, 3, and their older brother Riley Holt, 8

Another sibling two-year-old, named locally as Jack, survived the tragedy alongside his mother Natalie Unitt and her partner Chris Moulton, who jumped out of a first-floor window.

Two horse-drawn carriages carrying the coffins passed through the area with a police escort, travelling to Stafford Crematorium, as well-wishers looked on.

Teddies placed inside the carriage

Grieving family and close friends followed in cars as the procession made its way to the service.

The procession left the Highfields estate, where the children lived, before heading along Silkmore Lane, Radford Bank and Baswich Lane, towards the crematorium.

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People who live along the procession route were encourages to place teddy bears in the windows of homes
More of the teddy bears which were placed along the route

The four coffins featured children's characters on them including Scooby Doo, Paw Patrol and a unicorn. On top of the coffins were teddy bears, while there was also floral tributes with the children's names.

Their funeral service was held in private, for close friends and family only. The family had suggested that residents in the Stafford area who wanted to show their support should put teddy bears or similar children's toys in their windows in memory of the four children.

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Natalie Belcher, who came to pay her respects as the coffins passed through Silkmore Lane, said: "It is such a shame, it's a horrible thing. I can't imagine what the parents are going through, I'm a mother-of-three myself.

"It has rocked the whole community."

Toys and tributes remain in tribute near the family home on the Highfields estate

Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, added: "We just really wanted to come out and pay our respects to the children and family – it was such a devastating incident."

A public memorial event for Riley, Keegan, Tilly and Olly is being planned for a future date, where the local community will be invited.

Inquiries continue into the cause of the fire which led to the tragic deaths of the four children. A 24-year-old woman and 28-year-old man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence have been released under investigation.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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