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Mother who died after arson attack reunited with ‘babies in sky’, mourners told

Michelle Pearson died 20 months after the fire-bombing of her home.

The funeral procession leaves St Paul’s Church, Walkden (Danny Lawson/PA)
The funeral procession leaves St Paul’s Church, Walkden (Danny Lawson/PA)

By Pat Hurst, PA

A mother who suffered horrific burns in a murderous arson attack which killed four of her children is reunited with her “babies in the sky” her poignant funeral service heard.

Four horse-drawn carriages, representing each of her deceased children, headed the procession to the church as mourners lined the route, before the coffin of Michelle Pearson was borne by a final carriage for the start of the service.

The 37-year-old never left hospital, having suffered 75% burns, and finally died on August 25, 20 months after the fire-bombing of her home on Jackson Street, Walkden, Greater Manchester.

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The order of service for the funeral of Michelle Pearson (Danny Lawson/PA)

Demi Pearson, 15, her brother, Brandon, eight, and sisters, Lacie, seven and Lia, three, all perished in the petrol-bomb attack which turned their home into an inferno in the early hours of December 11, 2017.

Their mother was too unwell to attend her children’s funeral in September last year.

On Friday, amid torrential rain, the mother-of-six’s white coffin, adorned with paintings of red poppies, was carried inside the same church, St Paul’s in Walkden, for her own funeral, as a pipe band played Amazing Grace.

Her eldest son Lewis and brother Chris Pearson were among the pall bearers, with her other surviving son Kyle, and mother Sandra Lever, among the mourners who paid their last respects.

The hour-long service heard eulogies for the young mother-of-six, a much loved daughter, sister and friend, mourners were told.

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The coffin of Michelle Pearson is carried into St Paul’s Church (Danny Lawson/PA)

Happy memories were shared of holidays, barbecues, feeding the ducks and bedtime stories with her children.

Michelle’s elder sister Claire Pearson read a “Sister Poem”, including the words: “How can we be heartbroken and selfish to cry when you are with your babies in the sky?”

The order of service including a montage of photos of Mrs Pearson, pictures of her surrounded by her young family.

A neighbour, named only as Elaine, spoke of Mrs Pearson’s kindness and warmth.

She said: “Sometimes things would be a struggle. But the one thing she did have was an endless amount of love for her children.

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Sandra Lever, the mother of Michelle Pearson, arrives for the funeral (Danny Lawson/PA)

“Michelle’s whole world revolved around her children and I miss hearing their voices as they played in the street and Michelle would shout them in for their tea.

“I feel humbled and proud to call you my friend Michelle.”

A eulogy from the family, read by the Rev Gill Page, ended: “But overall Michelle had a big heart, a heart of gold, and she would help anyone in need.”

At the end of the service the song, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, by Aerosmith was played, before mourners, many red-eyed with tears, filed out of the church.

The service continued, for only close family and friends, with a private burial, with Mrs Pearson being laid to rest in a grave alongside her four children.

Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have been in contact since her death, to consider possible further charges for those convicted of the petrol bombing.

The result of a “petty feud”, Zak Bolland and David Worrall are serving four life sentences for murder, with minimum terms of 40 and 37 years respectively, while Bolland’s ex-girlfriend, Courtney Brierley, was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter.

PA

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