Grieving parents say final farewell to little Lacey, their fifth tragic loss of a child
A heartbroken couple who have lost five children to a mystery illness were told that their "little fighter" daughter will shine forever as they said goodbye yesterday.
Jamie and Mark Pollock wept as tributes were paid to Lacey (4) during a thanksgiving service at Dundonald Methodist Church led by the Rev Stephen Sheerin.
"This is a day to celebrate the life of Lacey but also to express our anger and confusion, our sorrow and our grief, to God and ask for faith and patience in this time of darkness," he told mourners.
"There will be many questions running about our minds that only God can answer."
As Lacey's devastated dad Mark helped carry her tiny pink coffin into the church, mourners stood and listened to her favourite song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Four loved ones dressed-up as her favourite Disney princesses and sang an emotional rendition of 'Wish Upon A Star' before the Rev Sheerin thanked God for Lacey's short but "special" life.
"Lacey was one of nine children given as a gift to Jamie and Mark, but sadly four siblings have predeceased her which makes this a very difficult day," he said.
"She was a source of great joy, but in remembering her we also remember the sadness that has gone before.
The Ed Sheeran and Little Mix fan's parents were "overjoyed" when Lacey was sent home from hospital at five months old.
"But those hopes were dashed when she was readmitted and remained there until she was two," said the Rev Sheerin.
Lacey and her four siblings suffered from the same undiagnosed condition and passed away aged between nine weeks and 13-years-old.
Lacey's death on Monday came three days after what would have been her late sister Ellie's 13th birthday.
She passed away in the Royal Victoria's Intensive Care Unit nine weeks after she suddenly stopped breathing at her home.
The mystery illness meant the Tor Bank school pupil was unable to walk or talk and had to be tube fed.
"Lacey was never ever seen by God as a child with special needs, but rather as a special child," Rev Sheerin said.
"Lacey was a little fighter, but all hope was thwarted when her health deteriorated rapidly last week."
Borrowing words from Nelson Mandela the clergyman said: "We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us" and insisted it was not just in some of us.
"It is in every one of us and it was certainly in Lacey.
"Nelson Mandela also said that as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same - it's very clear that Lacey shone bright during her short life on this earth, now she will shine forever."
Her teacher Christine praised the "cute little dote" who has given staff so many "precious memories" since she started attending the school's multi-sensory department last September.
The family also expressed their immense gratitude for the outpouring of love and thanked all the nurses and doctors who cared for Lacey.