Sad farewell to girl of 10 who died after choking on balloon
Classmates of a girl who died in a freak accident after choking on a balloon at a birthday party formed a guard of honour at her funeral in Castlederg.
Clarice Harron, who would have celebrated her 11th birthday on Monday, died at the party in Spamount on Saturday.
A doctor was called to the scene and attempts were made to resuscitate her.
The tragic child from Glenview in Killen, outside the Co Tyrone village of Castlederg, was a pupil at Edwards Primary School.
Pupils from the school formed a guard of honour at St John's Church of Ireland Parish Church in Castlederg.
Rev Alan Peek told a packed church: “We have come together today to do something we never dreamed we would have to do in saying goodbye to Clarice.
“And it just doesn't feel right — because although death is the one certainty we all have in life, and the loss of a loved one is never welcome, we fully expect to bury our parents, not our children, and certainly not when they're in the flower of childhood.”
Rev Peek told the mourners that there were no cheap answers to explain why such a young and vibrant child had been taken from her parents and he called upon all in the community to offer their support and prayers to them.
He added: “The God of Love, whom we worship, the God who watches over us, doesn't will the death of young children or the pain of their parents.
“God never originally made this world to be imperfect . . . we are faced with a mystery — the mystery of life, and of death — in which there are no easy or neat answers
“We are here to mourn — to mourn and to commend Clarice into God's care, and to ask God to help us — and to most especially help Gerald and Dreena through this tragedy.”
Clarice was a fan of the Hannah Montana character and Rev Peek told those gathered that they would listen to one of her favourite songs from the recent film, Butterfly Fly Away.
The song is about the “loving relationship between a daughter and her parents, how they cared for her in childhood, but how as she grew they had to let her go as one must let a transformed butterfly go on its colourful way,” said Rev Peek.
“As we listen, let us with sadness mixed with joy also let Clarice go to join her colourful dance with Jesus, whose arms are open to receive her.”