Heartbreak as injured mum says farewell to tragic daughter
Mini-service is held in hospital
The mother of the eight-year-old girl killed in a weekend road crash has said her final farewells in hospital.
Shirley McClelland, mother of little Chloe, is still recovering in Altnagelvin Hospital from the injuries she sustained after the car they were travelling in crashed near Dervock on Saturday.
Last night, she spent some time with Chloe in a mini-service at the hospital's Chapel of Rest ahead of today's funeral.
She will not be well enough to attend the main service but was able to mourn her daughter when Chloe's remains were brought to the North West hospital last night.
Family and friends of Chloe will gather at her home at Liscolman village near Ballymoney this afternoon for a private service, followed by interment at Belmont Cemetery in Antrim.
Mr McClelland said he knows the funeral will be very hard without his wife.
"Chloe was brought up to Altnagelvin's Hospital's Chapel of Rest and the nurses brought Shirley down from the ward to see her," he said.
"They had some time alone. My wife is not well and will not be able to go to the funeral.
"There was a minister arranged to do a reading I had prepared so it was like a mini-service for Chloe.
"Shirley got to say goodbye to her then.
"Shirley had a bad night on Tuesday and then had a better night on Wednesday."
A memorial fund is being set up in Chloe's name, he said.
A spokeswoman from Wade's Funeral Parlour in Coleraine said: "Any donations will be used for a memorial to Chloe. It is not decided what the memorial will be at this stage."
Straidbilly Primary School in Liscolman has opened a book of tribute for Chloe.
Head teacher Valerie McIntosh said: "Chloe was a delightful child - she was always smiling, never complained and only wanted to do her best.
"We had a special assembly and everyone is devastated - pupils, teachers, governors, everyone. It's a small country school and it's had a terrible effect on everyone."
The tribute books are helping the children to deal with the tragedy, she said.
"One seven-year-old girl wrote: 'I played with her and she showed me her doggie. I played catch with her and she played catch with me. She was a good friend'.
"Another wrote: 'I love you so much. When you crashed, I cried all night'."