Funeral for six Philpott children killed in Derby fire

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Media captionThe funeral for the six children took place at St Mary's Church in Derby

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of six children who died after a fire at a house in Derby.

Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jessie, six and Jayden, five, died in the blaze in May and Duwayne, 13, died three days later.

Their parents Mick and Mairead Philpott have been charged with their murder and did not attend the funeral.

The service at St Mary's Catholic Church in Derby started at 11:00 BST and lasted just under two hours.

'Respect' for mourners

Image caption Six horse-drawn hearses made their way through Derby to the church

Six horse-drawn hearses made their way from the Allenton area of Derby, through the city to the church.

BBC Radio Derby reporter Pamela Gupta was outside the church, where she said people were lined up carrying single yellow roses.

"The family had requested that they wanted people to dress up and be colourful, so people have arrived in brightly coloured clothes and dresses and scarves," she said.

Church bells rang out across Derby as the full requiem mass began with priests greeting the six coffins outside.

Each coffin bore the child's name and family members and friends threw flowers at the coffins as they were carried into the church.

Tributes to children

Image caption Jayden, aged five, was the youngest of the Philpott children to die. In the funeral's order of mass he was described as a "miracle baby" after his early birth. He went on to become a "bouncy and hyper-active" little boy, it said.
Image caption Jesse, aged six, was described by his family as a "crazy, clumsy and cheerful" character, who loved snuggling up with his brothers to watch films. He also enjoyed visits from family members, to whom he would show off his latest toys.
Image caption Jack, aged seven, was described as "a real pretty boy" with bright blue eyes. He loved playing computer games and watching Peppa Pig. He was the quietest of his siblings, but also "cute, cuddly and content with everything", his family said.
Image caption John, aged nine, was a Derby County supporter whose daredevil personality saw him compete with older brother Duwayne in the rough and tumble of everyday life, his family said. His ambition was to become a soldier in the Army.
Image caption Jade, aged 10, was a "beautiful" girl with "a permanent smile" her tribute said. It described her as creative character, who liked to play on the Nintendo Wii. She was also good at school where she was said to boost morale.
Image caption Duwayne, aged 13, the oldest of the victims, died in Birmingham Children's Hospital two days after the fire. His tribute described him as "a charming and caring young boy" who was said to have taken on the role of family protector.

BBC Radio Derby reporter Victoria Holland was at the service and said the atmosphere was "very sombre".

"Many teachers and friends stood up and gave their memories of the children," she said.

"They described how polite and charming they were."

Prayers were said for the children and for the fire service who tried to rescue them.

A poem read out during the service called Angels on High included the lines:

Image caption In the aftermath of the fire, hundreds of floral tributes were left outside the house

"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."

Funeral fund

Rose petals were thrown at the coffins as they were placed back in the carriages.

A private burial service was held for the children at a cemetery in Chaddesden.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill, from Derbyshire Police, urged people to show respect and restraint to mourners attending the funeral.

More than 300 people attended a community event in June to remember the six children.

The event saw well-wishers joining hands and saying prayers outside the family home.

A collection was also made for a community fund to help pay for the funerals, which has raised more than £11,000.

Derbyshire Police arrested a 45-year-old man on Wednesday in connection with the fire. He was later released on bail.

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