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Service of ‘hope and love’ held in memory of teenage Manchester Arena victim

UK News | Published:

Olivia Campbell-Hardy’s funeral took place at The Parish Church of St Anne in Tottington, near Bury, on Tuesday afternoon.

The coffin of Manchester bombing victim Olivia Campbell-Hardy

Hundreds of mourners gathered for a service of “hope and love” to remember 15-year-old Manchester Arena bombing victim Olivia Campbell-Hardy.

The teenager was one of 22 people killed in the terror attack which happened after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

Her funeral, described as a “service of celebration and thanksgiving” for her life, was held at The Parish Church of St Anne in Tottington, near Bury, on Tuesday afternoon.

Mourners were asked to wear blue and some brought blue flowers to the service.

Olivia’s friend Adam Lawler, who was with her on the night of the attack, attended the service in a wheelchair.

Speaking afterwards, the 15-year-old said: “I’ve shed many a tear today and it’s been a shaky experience but I’m strong.”

He described Olivia as the “bravest person” he would ever meet.

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A St George’s flag with a bee, which has become a symbol of Manchester since the attack, was laid on top of her blue coffin and floral tributes reading “Ollie” and “Princess” were displayed in the hearse.

Mourners lined the streets to see the funeral procession, which included riders on scooters decorated with balloons and flags.

Many stood outside for the service, which was relayed on speakers.

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The Reverend Hugh Bearn said running through every element of the service were “the threads of hope and love”.

He added that these were “the exact opposites of meaninglessness and hate”.

Charlotte Campbell and Paul Hodgson
Charlotte Campbell and Paul Hodgson, the mother and stepfather of Olivia Campbell-Hardy (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said pupils from Olivia’s school had written messages about her in the days after her death, which were displayed on the altar.

He said: “She was a girl with character and vitality. She is described in the words still on the altar as the kindest person with whom happy times were shared. A true friend with an amazing smile and a great laugh.”

The choir from Tottington High School, where Olivia was a pupil, sang I, The Lord Of Sea And Sky and hymns Lord Of The Dance and One More Step Along The World I Go were sung by the congregation.

Scooter riders
Scooter riders follow the funeral cortege (Danny Lawson/PA)

The family asked for donations to be made to the Tottington High School Music Room.

There was applause as the coffin was carried out to Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Recordings of Olivia singing There You’ll Be by Faith Hill and All Of Me by John Legend were due to be were played at a private service at East Lancashire Crematorium.

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