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Colourful farewell to 'smart, fun, beautiful' Katie, seven

Hundreds of mourners donned rainbow-coloured accessories to celebrate the life of "smart, fun, beautiful" seven-year-old Katie Rough at York Minster.

Katie was found with severe lacerations to her neck and chest on a playing field in York last month and died later in hospital.

Around 400 people packed into the Minster on Monday afternoon for the funeral service led by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

Dr Sentamu told the congregation that he sat with Katie's coffin overnight after realising she would be alone following a family service at his Bishopthorpe Palace residence.

He said he went to sit with her during the evening and spent 11 hours with her.

"I felt she's going to be alone in there," he said.

"I found myself there from eight 'til seven in the morning."

Dr Sentamu said she told him: "All is well, all is well with my soul, everything is okay."

Onlookers stopped to watch as Katie's coffin arrived at the Minster in a white hearse pulled by two white horses.

Her white coffin was decorated with characters from Dr Seuss and a wreath of multicoloured flowers was laid on top.

A second hearse was filled with floral tributes in various colourful shapes, including a rainbow, a rabbit and a butterfly.

Dr Sentamu met Katie's parents, Paul and Alison, at the hearse and waited for other family members before leading the procession into the Minster's Quire.

Mourners wore bright scarves and ties and a number of young children wore rainbow-coloured hair bows after they were asked by Katie's parents to dress formally but with a colourful twist.

The order of service carried a picture of Katie holding a toy rabbit on its front cover and a photograph of the young girl with her "best friend" - her dog Walter - was placed in front of the coffin in the Minster.

A number of family members gave tearful Bible readings and Katie's uncle, Steven Rough, paid tribute to his niece.

He said: "There's no easy way to say goodbye. We can't dwell in sadness or keep asking why when we may never know the reason why this smart, fun, beautiful child was taken from our lives at such a young age.

"We should focus on how happy she made us when she was in our lives."

Mr Rough's voice broke with emotion as he added: "We will miss Katie forever.

"We will never forget the wonderful person you were and your memories will live on forever in our hearts."

Mr Rough described "daddy's girl" Katie's love of the outdoors and reading, particularly poetry and Dr Seuss, and talked about her family's memories.

He said: "Her family were her world."

He added that Katie suffered from selective mutism and a note from the family in the order of service asked for donations to be given in aid of the Selective Mutism Information & Research Association.

Following the service, Katie's coffin was carried from the Minster to He's Got The Whole World In His Hand.

Dr Sentamu and Katie's parents led the mourners, with Mr and Mrs Rough wiping tears from their eyes as they left to attend a private family service of committal.

:: A 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named, has appeared in court charged with Katie's murder. She is due to appear at Leeds Crown Court again on Thursday.

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