Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Smiles and tears at funeral of cyberbullied teen Hannah

Hundreds of mourners turned out in brightly coloured clothing and onesies to pay their respects to a teenage girl who died after being a victim of cyberbullying.

More than 400 people gathered for a service to celebrate the life of Hannah Smith (14), who was found hanged in her bedroom at the family home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, by her 16-year-old sister Jo two weeks ago.

Hannah's family have said the teenager endured months of torment on controversial question-and-answer website Ask.fm, although it has also been reported that she sent herself the majority of the abusive messages.

The controversial website was due to publicise plans to deal with online bullying but postponed the announcement because it coincided with Hannah's funeral.

Reverend Charlie Styles, who led the service for Hannah at St Mary's Church in the town, said the tone of the funeral was one of celebration.

Afterwards, the congregation released purple and white balloons into the grey skies outside the church after a countdown of "1-2-3 - Goodbye" from Mr Styles.

Speaking after the service, he said: "It was a really lovely service with lots of smiles.

"The atmosphere was really positive. There were obvious tears and it was quite heartbreaking really to hear, especially some of the younger people, some of Hannah's friends sobbing.

"But the overall tone of the service, and the tone really of today, was a feeling of celebration and laughter even amidst the tears."