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Mourners celebrate loving teenage bomb victim's life

By Eleanor Barlow

Hundreds of mourners gathered for a service of "hope and love" to remember 15-year-old Manchester Arena bombing victim Olivia Campbell-Hardy.

The teenager was one of 22 people killed in the terror attack which happened after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22.

Her funeral, described as a "service of celebration and thanksgiving" for her life, was held at The Parish Church of St Anne in Tottington, near Bury, yesterday.

Those in attendance were asked to wear blue and some brought blue flowers to the service.

Olivia's friend Adam Lawler, who was with her on the night of the attack, attended the service in a wheelchair.

Speaking afterwards, the 15-year-old said: "I've shed many a tear today and it's been a shaky experience, but I'm strong."

He described Olivia as the "bravest person" he'd ever meet.

A St George's flag with a bee, which has become a symbol of Manchester since the attack, was laid on top of her blue coffin and floral tributes reading 'Ollie' and 'Princess' were displayed in the hearse.

Mourners lined the streets to see the funeral procession, which included riders on scooters decorated with balloons and flags.

Many stood outside for the service, which was relayed on speakers.

The Rev Hugh Bearn said running through every element of the service were "the threads of hope and love".

He added that these were "the exact opposites of meaninglessness and hate".

He said pupils from Olivia's school had written messages about her in the days after her death, which were displayed on the altar.

"She was a girl with character, love and vitality," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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