Alice Gross memorial service held

Alice Gross Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Alice Gross's family said they were "moved by the depth of sympathy" from the public

The parents of murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross have spoken of their huge loss at an emotional memorial service for their daughter.

Ros Hodgkiss and Jose Gross spoke to hundreds of well-wishers who had queued in driving rain to attend service in Greenford, west London.

Alice went missing on 28 August. Her body was found in the River Brent a month later.

Her family thanked local people for their help in the hunt for Alice.

'Numbed by shock'

The service included two songs recorded by Alice herself, including Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, which left many people in tears.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Images of Alice and recordings of her singing were part of the service
Image copyright PA
Image caption Ros Hodgkiss said support of friends and the wider community had kept the family going
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Media captionAlice's mother Rosalind Hodgkiss said she was "numbed by shock and grief"

Ms Hodgkiss told the congregation of about 500 people: "I have been numbed by shock and grief, I have felt outrage and anger at the loss of her life and unbelievable sadness at the emptiness that has been left.

"I have racked my brains for all the 'what ifs' of that day, anything that might have stopped this random, incomprehensible tragedy.

"It is even harder to talk about that pain than it is to talk about Alice. I cannot imagine life without Alice.

"I think of all the hugs, shared jokes, evenings spent snuggled on the sofa, goodnight kisses, the confidence of after-school conversations, Alice playing the piano in her dressing gown (and) singing, shopping, baking, the way Alice still called me 'Mummy'.

"The future seems bleak without Alice. It is only the incredible support of family friends and the wider community that has kept us going."

'Ribbon fairies'

The celebration, which was led by Caroline Black, a humanist celebrant who also presided over Alice's funeral, included music, poetry and speeches.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tributes will be removed from Hanwell Clock Tower on Monday, the council said

A number of poems were read, including one written by Brian Clark about the yellow ribbons of hope that were festooned around her neighbourhood while the search for Alice took place.

Ahead of the service, Alice's parents said they were particularly keen for the "ribbon fairies" and those who tended flowers at Hanwell Clock Tower to attend.

The leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell, thanked volunteers who "bathed our borough in yellow".

Representatives from the Ealing Half Marathon and sports clubs including Hanwell Town FC, Hanwell RFC, Brentford FC, Ealing RFC, Chelsea FC and QPR FC were also invited.

Ealing Council said Alice's family had asked for no further flowers, nor other tributes, to be left at Hanwell Clock Tower because the displays will be removed from Monday.

A tribute page with Youth Music has been set up to support disadvantaged children, in recognition of the teenager's love of music.

A post-mortem examination into the cause of Alice's death proved inconclusive and more tests are being carried out.

Police are currently investigating her murder. The inquest has been adjourned until 29 January next year.

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