Manchester attack: Funeral of Nell Jones held in Cheshire

Mourners leave the service Image copyright PA
Image caption Mourners follow the coffin of Nell Jones, 14, as it is carried from Saint Michaels and All Angels Church

Hundreds of mourners have paid their last respects to 14-year-old Manchester bomb victim Nell Jones at her funeral.

The teenager, from Cheshire, was one of 22 people who died when a suicide bomber targeted Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

The service started with music by Ed Sheeran, who sent the family flowers after hearing Nell was a fan. Mourners were asked to wear bright colours.

It was held at St Michael and All Angels Church in Middlewich.

See more stories from across the Staffordshire and Cheshire areas here

Image copyright PA
Image caption The coffin of Nell Jones is carried into the church

The service, described as a celebration for her life, took place exactly a month after the terror attack.

Her brother Sam, who described Nell as "kind, caring, loving, confident and clever", said she would have wanted people to "love not hate" following her death.

He said: "Her kindness is something that this world will be a much worse place without. In fact, all things will be worse without Nell.

"But if everyone here tells someone about her spirit, her determination, her love, her kindness, then she will never be too far away."

Image copyright PA
Image caption A floral tribute spelling out Nell's name

By Emma Thomas, BBC News, in Middlewich

Exactly a month ago, Nell Jones was an excited teenager looking forward to an evening with her best friend, singing and dancing to the music of Ariana Grande.

Today, as the bells of St Michael's and All Angels Church in Middlewich chimed 12 o'clock, hundreds of Nell's family and friends watched her coffin, draped in flowers, carried by her brothers into her funeral.

The men wore matching pink ties, adding to the array of floral tributes in a rainbow of colours, a contrast to the grey skies overhead.

Mourners sheltered from heavy rain under umbrellas lining the churchyard to hear the celebration of Nell's life echo out from loudspeakers.

Hymns included "One More Step Along The World I Go" which features the words "give me courage when the world is rough".

Nell's bother Sam spoke from the pulpit to express his anger at how "it shouldn't be this way. Nell should be talking about me at my funeral many years in the future."

During the service a message was read from Nell's friend Freya Lewis, who also attended the concert and remains in hospital after suffering fractures, lacerations and burns from shrapnel in the explosion.

Freya's sister Georgia, who read the message, said her sister credited her friend with passing on her "strength and bravery" to her.

She said: " I was so lucky to share Nell's last night, she was the happiest I have ever seen her."

Head teacher Dennis Oliver told mourners staff and students at Holmes Chapel High School had come together to support each other since the tragedy.

Image copyright Jones family

Nell's coffin, which was decorated with pink flowers, was carried into the church to Ed Sheeran song Photograph.

As the coffin left the church, the song Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson was played in memory of the teenager's love of Northern Soul.

More on this story