Farewell to six fire-death children
Published 22/06/2012 | 03:12
A church has been packed out as friends and family gathered to say their farewells to six children who died in a fire at their house.
Hundreds gathered for the Catholic requiem mass at St Mary's Church in Derby for the service for Jade and her five brothers Duwayne, John, Jack, Jesse and Jayden, who were said to have doted on each other.
Tributes paid to the children, whose bodies arrived at the church in individual horse-drawn carriages, during the service spoke of how they looked after each other and took on various roles such as "protector" and "mother hen". The children's coffins each bore their name and an emblem which related to them.
Crowds gathered outside in Derby city centre while inside the 350-seat church was packed to capacity, with many standing through the 90-minute service. Family and friends were given yellow roses and flower rosettes with six petals, one for each child, blue for the five boys and pink for Jade, as they went into the church.
The children's parents Mick, 55, and Mairead Philpott, who have been charged with their murder following the blaze at the family home in Allenton on May 11, were understood not to be at the funeral. They are in custody and will go on trial charged with six counts of murder next January.
There were tears and laughter during the service as tributes were paid to each of the children. The eldest of the six, Duwayne, described as being a ladies' man with queues of girls who fancied him, was said to have taken on the role of "protector" of his younger siblings. The congregation heard the 13-year-old and his brothers would often go to watch Derby County FC with their father Mick.
Their sister Jade, 10, who was described as a beautiful princess, had also become like a mother hen to her siblings while the youngest of the six, five-year-old Jayden, who was said to look up to his older brothers, was nicknamed the miracle baby after being born prematurely. "He loved lots of cuddles from family and friends," the service was told.
John's coffin carried a picture of toy soldiers. The nine-year-old, described as a cheeky chappy who was always ready to pick a fight, had wanted to join the Army when he was older. His eight-year-old brother Jack was described as a pretty boy with bright blue eyes. "Cute, cuddly and content with everything," the service was told.
"He was always the first one in the fights to run off crying to his mummy but some cuddles and kisses and he would be back to his gaming." However his attention-seeking brother Jesse, aged six, would get into scrambles with his brother "with no cares in the world" and liked to show off to everyone, the service was told.
A poem called Angels on High concluded the service, which included the lines: "And when you have a moment, just close your eyes for they are all only a breath away, in heaven there are no goodbyes. Duwayne, Jade, John, Jack, Jesse and Jayden, in the arms of angels fly away." Following the full requiem mass, the coffins were taken by the horse-drawn carriages to a cemetery in nearby Chaddesden for a private burial service.